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Verizon gives customers free calls, texts to Indonesia in wake of deadly quake

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Digital Trends / Robert Nazarian

Verizon is playing its part in helping the aid effort following the massive Indonesia earthquake — the company is allowing customers to connect with friends and family in Indonesia for free.

The earthquake struck Indonesia’s Aceh province just before dawn on Wednesday, lasting around 15 seconds and causing the deaths of nearly 100 people and the collapse of about 100 buildings in the area. That includes 72 combined shops and dwellings, 15 homes, a gas station, a school, and five mosques. Rescue efforts are hampered by the fact that the local hospital was also damaged in the quake.

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“More than 160,000 Verizon employees worldwide want to support our friends and family in Indonesia who have been impacted by the massive 6.4 earthquake,” said Verizon in a statement. “Verizon is offering free wireless and wireline calling from the U.S. to Indonesia to connect with family and friends.”

According to Verizon, home wireless phone customers will not incur any charges for calls to Indonesia from their landline from December 7-9. Mobile wireless customers won’t incur charges for calls and texts from the U.S. to Indonesia on the same dates.

Verizon’s announcement highlights the fact that tech companies are playing a bigger and bigger role in helping people connect following a disaster. Facebook in particular has been making an effort to switch on its Safety Check feature, which essentially lets users mark that they’re safe after a disaster takes place, letting all their friends know that they don’t need to worry about them. Facebook has turned the feature on a number of times, including during the Oakland fire that killed 36 people on December 2 and during a recent Ohio¬†State University attack that left seven injured.