Italians Text Help to Earthquake Victims

After the worst earthquake in 30 years struck L’Aquila killing 250 and leaving 17,000 people homeless, Italians are text messaging donations to help.

Italian mobile operators, including TIM, Fastweb, Wind, Tre and Vodafone, made a single number available for SMS donations to earthquake victims. Cell phone users send a blank text to 48580. They’re charged one euro for each text, cell phone companies promise to donate the entire amount of each message. (As zoomata reader Fabio pointed out, the text donation won’t work from abroad. There are bank transfer details here and, if you don’t know Italian, here’s the Red Cross UK donation page.)

Texters are sent a confirmation that says, “Thank you. With this message you’re helping people in Abruzzo who have been hit by the earthquake.”

Thumb tribes have been sending in support in Italy since 2002, when another earthquake in Southern Italy prompted the first cell-phone fund drive. Other text-based relief campaigns in a country where there are more cell phones than people include €27 million for 2005 tsunami victims.

Image used with a CC license, thanks to marca_pasos