It would be almost impossible to name all of the celebrities that came together Tuesday night to raise money for hurricane relief. The Hand in Hand telethon was a one hour event full of musical performances, direct addresses and celebrity phone-answering. It was a stunning success, raising a whopping $44 million for victims of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. So who was there, you ask? Pretty much everyone.
Here we go. You’ve got Oprah, Cher, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Bruce Willis, Billy Crystal, Jimmy Fallon, John Stewart, Ryan Seacrest, Daniel Craig, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong’o, Reese Witherspoon, Jared Leto, Elizabeth Banks, Nicki Minaj, and those are just the most notable of the A-listers that were there. There were so. many. celebs.
The event also included performances from Stevie Wonder, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Usher, Demi Lovato and more. Seriously, how did they pack all this into an hour?
While it looks like a night of celebrity fun, let’s keep it in perspective. Unfortunately, considering the damage these hurricanes have caused, $44 million is just a drop in the bucket. Early projections say that between Harvey and Irma, there has been $200 billion worth of damage done to the southern states. Like the number of celebrities at this event, that’s an unfathomable amount. The American government committed $15 billion to Harvey relief last Wednesday, but that was before Irma hit and it’s a far cry from the $100 billion the Governor of Texas estimated at the time that the state would need for recovery.
Large parts of the southern states will still be without power for days, if not weeks, and many people will be returning to inhospitable homes. Authorities are still collecting information about the level of damage, loss of human life and what it will take to rebuild. Like when Katrina hit, it will take a lot more than a few weeks of donations and clean-up to recover from these storms. It took years and years of recovery for Louisiana to see any kind of normalcy again, and these hurricanes were bigger and in rapid succession.
While these disasters are devastating and detrimental to many lives, it’s incredible to see the support that other human beings can offer each other in dark times.