Digicel makes whirlwind donation to hurricane aid effort

12 Sep 2008

Denis O’Brien’s mobile company Digicel has committed US$1m to support the relief efforts in Haitim following the recent storms and hurricanes in the Caribbean.

Describing itself as the fastest-growing mobile company in the region, Digicel has auctioned a range of relief initiatives to help the Haitian people to recover from the devastation.

The commitment is made up of US$400,000 of aid support to non-Government organisations (NGOs), US$400,000-worth of free minutes to customers and other mobile services and a further US$200,000 of direct aid distribution across the island.

“Since we launched in Haiti in May 2006, the people there have made us their own,” said Colm Delves, Digicel Group CEO.

“Our responsibility to the people of Haiti goes way beyond ensuring they can stay connected with their friends and family – something we did successfully during the storms. We’re committed to helping people get back on their feet and rebuild the island.”

The donation to NGOs such as the Red Cross and Concern will help get aid to people in the worst affected areas – which, in some cases like Nippes, haven’t received any support so far. The supplies will include food containers and toiletries, kitchen, hygiene and medical kits and supplies and air transport for two water treatment plants.

Digicel employees are taking part in a blood donation scheme with the Red Cross, as well as a telethon and radiothon on 14 September. Employees from the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe have run two donation days resulting in four containers of clothing and food supplies already arriving in Haiti.

Since its launch in 2001, Digicel has become the largest wireless telecoms operator in the Caribbean with more than six million customers. It has operations in 23 markets in the region and expects to increase this to 26 in the next 12 months.

By Sorcha Corcoran