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Digicel commits US$5m, CCRIF to pay out US$8m to Haiti

Published:Friday | January 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Digicel Group has committed US$5 million of assistance to Haiti, to help with relief efforts in that country.

The mobile firm on Wednesday also flew in a team of its staff to the devastated country where media reports are already putting the death toll from Tuesday's maginitude 7.0 quake in the tens of thousands, with estimates reaching as high as 100,000.

The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) also said Wednesday that the quake will trigger just under US$8 million in insurance payments to the ravaged country.

Haiti pays US$385,500 in annual premium for earthquake coverage from CCRIF.

"The recent earthquake was of sufficient magnitude to trigger the full policy limit for the earthquake coverage, effecting payment after a 14-day waiting period," CCRIF said in a statement Tuesday.

Digicel has operated in Haiti since 2007, now serving more than two million subscribers in a country of about nine million.

The company reported that its network sustained some damage but was still intact, but that its headquarters in the capital had survived the 7.0 quake.

However, at least two of 900 employees did not, according to wire reports.

"We are deeply upset and concerned at the news of the earthquake in Haiti and want to do whatever we can to support the desperately needed relief efforts," said Digicel Group Chief Executive Officer Colm Delves.

The quake hit Haiti Tuesday, chiefly its capital Port-au-Prince, but the country has been experiencing numerous aftershocks since.

The world has quickly rallied to Haiti's assistance.