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While the telethon will be helping Harvey's victims, "by Tuesday we might be helping more than them", Braun said, a reference to powerful Hurricane Irma in the Atlantic Ocean, which may threaten Florida and the southern USA this weekend. By the end of the night, the total more than $44 million.

NBA star Chris Paul also said the NBA Players Association, which already donated $500,000, would match any NBA player's donation up to $20,000.

Oprah Winfrey and Sean "Diddy" Combs were among the stars on-hand to help with the effort, all making a push to help in the aftermath of a bad hurricane season.

The singer stressed the importance of coming together in such a divisive political moment.

ABC News reported that the event, which was initially meant to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, was later extended to reach out to the victims of Irma as well. On Tuesday, the live broadcast kicked off with performances from Stevie Wonder, Tori Kelly, Luis Fonsi, #Justin Bieber, Usher, Blake Shelton among others.

"As we should begin to love and value our planet and anyone who believes that there is no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent".

During the show, Stephen Colbert said Apple had donated US$5 million (NZ$7 million), which the comedian quipped, "is also the price of the new iPhone". "Natural disasters don't discriminate", she said. They don't care if you're an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor.

There will be a live performance finale from Texas with George Strait and friends.

Cher and Oprah Winfrey encouraged donations by showing a widely-seen picture of people forming a human chain in Houston floodwaters in order to save a stranger.

Multiple charities will receive proceeds from the telethon, including the Mayor's Fund for Hurricane Harvey, United Way of Greater Houston, Feeding Texas, and Habitat for Humanity. Getting the charitable word out as much as possible, the benefit was broadcast across 15 networks and 150 radio stations, and live-streamed on social media.


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