A displaced woman wears a mask at a food distribution in Somalia
A displaced woman wears a mask at a food distribution in Somalia



A displaced woman wears a mask while waiting at a food distribution in Mogadishu, Somalia. Image: Ismail Taxta/DEC

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Key facts

location icon

8 countries

across which donations are being spent - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, DR Congo, India, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen

People in need icon

20 million

people in need of assistance in Yemen, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis where Covid-19 is surging

refugee camp icon

2.7 million

displaced people living in northwest Syria

affected population icon

275 million

people in India who live on less than £1.40 per day

As restrictions slowly ease here in the UK, new variants of coronavirus threaten to overwhelm health systems and cost many lives overseas.

Our Coronavirus Appeal is funding work in eight countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, DR Congo, India, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This includes six of the world’s most fragile states, the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, and India, which was hit by the worst outbreak of Covid-19 yet seen during the pandemic in April and May 2021. 

Millions of people living in fragile states have little access to medical care or clean water, making them much more vulnerable to new, more contagious variants of coronavirus. 

But in many countries the economic effects of the pandemic could be even more deadly than the virus itself as millions of people are pushed towards famine due to falling incomes and rising food prices. Hunger can be particularly devastating for children, leading to malnutrition which in the worst cases can be fatal. 

An aerial view of a displacement camp in Syria

An aerial view of a displacement camp in northwest Syria where a DEC charity is providing clean water and toilets. Image: Karam Almasri/DEC

We need your help to: 

  • support fragile health systems with PPE, equipment, and isolation and medical care facilities 
  • help give vulnerable families the means to protect themselves with water, soap, handwashing stations and information 
  • ensure that the Covid-19 crisis doesn’t mean people go hungry and children become malnourished. 

The pandemic is driving levels of need not seen in decades. Your donation could help vulnerable communities as they face unprecedented challenges. 

  • £20 could provide a medical kit to a vulnerable person 
  • £50 could provide essential hygiene kits to two families  
  • £100 could provide PPE for 10 frontline health workers 

Save lives

Help vulnerable communities survive the pandemic.

Hunger and Covid threaten lives in Syria as DEC donations support those most at risk

90 year old Nada in a widows' camp in Idlib, Syria where DEC funds are providing support to older people.

Since July 2020, donations to the DEC’s Coronavirus Appeal have helped protect some of Syria’s most vulnerable communities from coronavirus by providing clean water, hygiene kits and supporting healthcare but poor facilities in camps and the growing hunger crisis are still putting lives at risk as the virus continues to circulate.

In Idlib, the number of Covid-19 cases have spiked alarmingly in the last month, according to the local administration. “We’ve stopped counting the waves,” says Hamza Algabra from Darna, a local partner of a DEC charity in Syria. “There is a big spread of Covid-19 in the camps due to lack of infrastructure."

For many Syrian families their most critical need is now access to food.  Years of instability, poor rainfall and a devastated economy have impacted food production, increasing cases of hunger and malnutrition.

An update on Afghanistan

The recent conflict and change of government in Afghanistan have led many DEC member charities to pause their programmes in the country, including those funded by the DEC’s Coronavirus Appeal.

Funds from the DEC’s Coronavirus Appeal have been spent in Afghanistan since its launch in July 2020 to help people protect themselves from Covid-19 and deal with the secondary effects of the pandemic such as increasing hunger. You can find a summary of achievements in the first six months of the response in our Six-Month Report

Our member charities will continue to assess whether it’s possible and appropriate to continue these programmes as the situation on the ground becomes clearer. DEC member charities have decades of experience navigating these types of events in fragile contexts, and the DEC provides flexible funding to allow our members to adapt programming to meet the changing humanitarian needs of people affected by crises.

Donations to fund work in eight countries as appeal tops £55 million

A displaced child in Yemen

With new variants of coronavirus threatening to overwhelm fragile health systems and the secondary effects of the pandemic driving up hunger, we will now be allocating donations to our Coronavirus Appeal across the eight countries covered by our appeal - Afghanistan, Bangladesh (Rohingya camps), DR Congo, India, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The scale of need is immense. Several countries are on the brink of famine as a result of the secondary effects of the pandemic, and Yemen and Syria have recently seen surges of Covid-19 largely masked by a lack of testing. It will be a long time before a significant proportion of the populations can be vaccinated in fragile states.

Between 28 April and 9 June, donations were prioritised for India, and during this time the DEC and our member charities raised an additional £14 million, bringing the total funds raised for the appeal to over £55 million. Donations from any fundraisers started during this time will still be directed to India. If you have any questions, please contact our supporter care team. We do not rule out further extensions of our appeal as the virus continues to circulate and mutate around the world.

DEC charities not being prevented from delivering aid by Indian NGO law

Oxfam staff unload an oxygen concentrator

There have been media reports that some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in India have been prevented from distributing oxygen concentrators from foreign donors and suppling them to the government due to changes in legislation.

However, this legislation is not affecting DEC charities’ ability to support healthcare facilities in the country due to their long-standing presence in the country. DEC charities are working closely with health authorities to deliver on their requests – including regionally procured oxygen concentrators – coordinating with the Indian Health Ministry as well as hospitals, clinics and health facilities at state, regional and local level.

Madara Hettiarachchi, DEC Director of Programmes and Accountability said: “DEC charities’ are using donations to support health systems in India, including delivering oxygen concentrators and other life-saving equipment. For example, member charities have quickly set up treatment facilities in rural areas where there aren’t enough beds to cope with this devastating second wave."

A boy stands at the entrance to a tent in a muddy camp in Syria

Farid* stands at the entrance to his tent in a displacement camp in Syria. Image: Karam Almasri/DEC

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Coronavirus in fragile states

Launched in July 2020, the DEC Coronavirus Appeal has been funding work in six of the world's most fragile states - Afghanistan, DR Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen - as well as the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh and, more recently, India.

Our in-depth Breaking Point report examines how the pandemic is pushing fragile states towards catastrophe and how DEC charities have been using donations to help people affected.

A woman holds up a cake at a DEC fundraiser


Help vulnerable communities protect themselves from Covid-19 by completing a sponsored challenge, holding an event or asking for donations for your birthday.