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Tsunami Aid From Private Sector Is Growing

Updated from Dec. 30

The list of U.S. and Canadian companies donating money, medicine and services to the victims of the Asian earthquake and tsunami continues to grow.

The corporate relief effort is badly needed, with the death toll from the killer waves recently surpassing 116,000, according to the Associated Press. In coming weeks, health officials fear, tens of thousands more people are at critical risk from disease borne by unsanitary conditions.

Beyond the threat of deadly illness, the monster 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami left millions of people homeless in several countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand. The devastation has created a crying need for everything from clean water to heavy equipment to clear debris and bury the dead.

If you're interested in making your own donation, a superb online starting point is the Network for Good site that was set up in 2001 by America Online, Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Yahoo! (YHOO).

To date, one of the biggest corporate donations is a $35 million pledge from Pfizer (PFE). The world's biggest drugmaker is contributing both cash and medications to the relief effort.

The Pfizer donation matched the $35 million initial contribution the U.S. government is sending to the affected nations. On Friday, it appeared that the U.S. was moving to substantially increase its financial support. Several news organizations were reporting the federal government intends to give a total of $350 million to the relief effort.

Other pharmaceutical companies also are big contributors of cash and medicine to the stricken nations. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is donating $2 million. Abbott Laboratories (ABT) is contributing medical supplies valued at $2 million. Beleaguered Merck (MRK) is donating $250,000. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) is donating $1 million in cash and $4 million in drugs.

Several big banks also are stepping up to the plate. Citigroup (C) is contributing $3 million to the relief effort. The world's biggest financial services firm also will match employee donations to organizations providing disaster relief. J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) says it's planning to do the same. Securities firm Merrill Lynch (MER) is giving $1 million.

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