Telecommunications has always played an important role in disaster relief efforts, Jared Cohen, a member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, told moderator Bob Scheiffer. But "for the first time, we actually have the tools to make it a huge part of the actual relief effort," he said.
The SMS relief campaign, in which individuals donate $10 to the Red Cross by texting the word "Haiti" to 90999, generated $1.7 million in its first 24 hours, Cohen said. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced today that overall, it has now raised more than $10 million from more than one million donors, making it the largest mobile donation campaign ever.
The State Department also announced today a new tool, found at www.state.gov/Haitiquake, with which people can locate missing persons. Using technology to locate missing persons "is a great example of 21st century state craft," Cohen said.
Also on Washington Unplugged today, CBS News' Bill Plante sat down with two filmmakers releasing a documentary on the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
"Washington Unplugged" appears live on CBSNews.com each weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.