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Blog by Irene Wong & Mike Mulligan

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Canada For Haiti Benefit

Canadians dug deep into their wallets for victims of the Haitian earthquake at the Canada for Haiti telethon Friday night.

Phone lines were soon jammed at the telethon designed to raise money for a group of Canadian charities working in Haiti, created jointly by CBC, CTV and Global.

About 200,000 people are estimated to have died in the 7.0-magnitude quake and about two million Haitians were left homeless from the earthquake that struck the island nation Jan. 12

It is also believed that 250,000 are in need of urgent aid, including food, water and shelter. In the longer term, help will be needed to rebuild the shattered country.

Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean, who was born in Haiti & lived there until the age of 11, gave an emotional appeal, speaking from a vigil in Montreal.

"It's very important to take this time to put our hearts together and put our heads together and see what we can do to support Haiti in this ordeal," she said.

The Canadian government has said it will match donations given by individuals to Canadian charities up to a total of $50 million.

The money raised during the telethon will be distributed equally among a coalition of nine large Canadian non-governmental organizations — including World Vision Canada, Canadian Red Cross Society, UNICEF Canada, Oxfam Canada and Save the Children Canada — with the funds exclusively earmarked for Haiti.

To get the matching donation, and a Canadian tax receipt, people had to give through the Canadian telethon, rather than the U.S. benefit Hope for Haiti Now, which followed it.

Donations can be given up to February 12, 2010. The Canadian telethon number is 1-877-51HAITI (42484) or you can give online at canadaforhaiti.com.