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'Countdown' Viewers Raise $185,000 For South Dakota Ice Storm Victims

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"Countdown" viewers raised $185,000 in 24 hours after host Keith Olbermann urged them to donate on behalf of the victims of the South Dakota ice storms.

Tuesday night, Olbermann appealed on behalf of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Storm Relief Emergency Assistance, an organization meant to help what Olbermann described as a "humanitarian crisis at home."

"Two weeks ago, the reservations of the Dakotas were hit by blizzards and ice storms. Twenty five hundred utility polls fell. Electricity and water, and, thus, heat and light, were cut off. And dozens are still cut off," he said. "And the government has done next to nothing for the Native Americans, who, on a nice sunny spring day there, still face unemployment of 85 percent. Doing nothing for these people, an American tradition since at least 1776. I mentioned this in worsts last night, and many viewers advised us they were horrified. It's not Haiti. It's not three million people affected. It's more like 50,000. And it's 450 miles away from St. Paul, Minnesota."

Wednesday, Olbermann reported on the generosity of his viewers.

"You overwhelm me, as usual," he said to his viewers. "Last night, continuing our coverage of the humanitarian crisis on the ice storm and blizzard-ravaged reservations of South Dakota, I mentioned the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Storm Relief Emergency Assistance Fund and we linked to it. They were hoping by the end of the month to have raised $35,000. In 24 hours, you donated approximately $185,000. They thank you and I thank you."

Olbermann also asked his viewers to contact their congressmen and senators to urge FEMA to help the victims.

"Every time I feel the futility of not knowing what to do about one of these crises, I forget to ask the most reliable people I know: you guys," he said.

In October, Olbermann helped raise over $1.2 million for free health care clinics.

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