One of the largest Christian relief and development organizations in the world received over 14.6 million Australian dollars (11.2 million U.S. Dollars) raised at a one-day international charity cricket match to help the tsunami victims in Asia. On Monday, World Vision thanked the worlds leading cricket players at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia for their efforts.
"Cricketers did this as part of a wave of compassion. We cannot bring back the lost lives but we can give hopes to those alive, to say you are not alone. We will see you through this," World Vision Australia chief executive Tim Costello said.
Following the first of two benefit matches, Costello received a check for 14,645,123.85 Australian dollars (11,232,810.28 USD) from Bob Merriman, Chief of Cricket Australia.
"This match and the next one to be played in Asia, will be the centerpiece of cricket's contribution for the survivors of tsunami to help them rebuild their lives," said Malcom Speed, CEO of the International Cricket Councilwhich recruited the world's leading cricket players to help raise millions of dollars for World Vision's tsunami appeal.
The handsome sum comes only two days after a nationwide telethon in Australia raised more than $20 million on Saturday for the organizations tsunami relief effort.
The benefit concert staged at Sydney's Opera House and an associated telethon was broadcast on all three commercial television networks and the Asia Pacific network of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Costello said Australia has the highest rate of donations in the world per capita.
"Australians right across the board from ordinary people to the Government," he said, as reported by ABC. "This wonderful moment when our Government leads the world, and right around the world people are saying, 'This is the benchmark'.
Belinda Richardson, the communications manager for World Vision Australia, said the amount of money raised was beyond the aid organizations expectations.
"This is a time for Australia to be truly proud... Australians per capita have given more money than any other country on the earth," she said. "It's not like leading an Olympic Games total or anything like that... now we're leading the challenge across the world to give the most money to help people who need it."
The money from Saturdays benefit concert will go to World Vision Australia's long-term rehabilitation projects in tsunami-ravaged countries.
The projects are currently helping communities deal with the trauma of the disaster and rebuild infrastructure.