Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to launch Cyclone Idai Appeal

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Donations can be made at www.dec.org.uk or by calling 0370 60 60 610

** Spokespeople, recent photos and footage are available **

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to launch Cyclone Idai Appeal 

Leading UK aid agencies will launch a joint fundraising appeal on Thursday 21 March 2019 to help people suffering in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai which has swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction, killed hundreds of people and affected an estimated 2.6 million people.

Houses, roads and bridges have been ripped apart and agricultural land is completely submerged. More than 480 people are confirmed dead and 400,000 have lost their homes.

The full scale of the disaster is still unfolding as search and rescue operations continue and more heavy rain is predicted. The UN predicts that this may become one of the worst weather-related disasters on record in the southern hemisphere.

DEC members are working closely with national partners to support the relief effort, delivering emergency shelter kits, food such as pulses and maize flour, water purification tablets and urgent health assistance.

The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky will be broadcasting appeals tomorrow (21 March) in support of DEC fundraising.

Every pound donated by the UK public will be matched by the UK government through its Aid Match scheme up to the value of £2 million. This new support will double the impact of the public’s own donations and will ensure that charities working on the ground can reach the men, women and children who have been left homeless and are in urgent need of food, water and temporary shelter.

To make a donation to the DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk

Stay up to date with developments in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: www.twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014, 07855 860 810, 07827 998 022 or 07956 597 770.
  • UK Aid Match enquiries should be directed to the Department for International Development. Please call 0207 023 0600 (24 hour).
  • At times of very great need, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together a unique alliance of the UK’s leading aid agencies and broadcasters to maximise fundraising and quickly deliver effective emergency relief. The DEC brings together 14 major UK aid agencies: Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK. 
  • Through UK Aid Match the Department for International Development gives the British public the opportunity to decide how the UK aid budget is spent and support people in desperate need by matching their donations pound-for-pound up to £2 million. This has increased the impact of a number of DEC appeals to help those in need around the world, including most recently to support people affected by the earthquake in Indonesia.
  • To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’. 
  • Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters.
  • To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk.
    • £30 can provide blankets to keep two families warm.
    • £50 could provide a family with food for one month.
    • £100 could help build toilet and washing facilities for families who lost their homes.

       

Cyclone Idai Appeal

A cyclone swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Hundreds have been killed and 2.6 million are affected.
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Cyclone Idai has swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving behind a trail of destruction, killing hundreds and affecting an estimated 2.6 million people.

Houses, roads and bridges have been ripped apart and agricultural land is completely submerged. More than 480 people are confirmed dead and 400,000 have lost their homes.

The full scale of the disaster is still unfolding as search and rescue operations continue and more heavy rain is predicted. The UN predicts that this may become one of the worst weather-related disasters on record in the southern hemisphere.

DEC members are working closely with national partners to support the relief effort, delivering emergency shelter kits, food such as pulses and maize flour, water purification tablets and urgent health assistance.

People need help now.

Image: CARE/Josh Estey

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DEC closely monitoring impact of latest tsunami in Indonesia

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is closely monitoring the impact of the second major tsunami to hit Indonesia in the past three months. At least 430 people have been reported killed and hundreds more injured after the tsunami hit the coastline of the Sunda Strait, which separates the Indonesia islands of Java and Sumatra.

The country’s disaster management agency says hundreds of buildings have also been damaged by the tsunami, which may have been caused by undersea landslides triggered by the new eruptions of the Anak Krakatau volcano near the strait. High tides may also have increased the impact of the wave.

The DEC, through its member agencies, is already delivering humanitarian aid to communities in the Sulawesi province of Indonesia that was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in late September, which killed more than 2,100 people, injured thousands more and made tens of thousands homeless. The DEC has raised more than £25 million so far for September’s disaster which is now being used by its member charities to provide shelter, clean water and sanitation to survivors, alongside a range of measures to help affected communities rebuild.

As the impact of the Anak Krakatau disaster becomes clearer, it is possible that the DEC’s member charities may use funds from the current Indonesia Tsunami Appeal to assist the latest emergency response in the most badly affected areas of the Sunda Strait. The decision will be informed by the latest information from the ground from the DEC’s members in Indonesia, the Indonesian government and other international relief agencies. You can give now to our Indonesia Tsunami Appeal at www.dec.org.uk.

This article was updated on 02/01/19 to reflect the updated death toll announced by the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency.

Update 31/01/2019: A small amount of the funds raised from the DEC’s Indonesia Tsunami Appeal will be used to support the response to December’s tsunami in the Sunda Strait.

 

 

Fleeing the liquid ground: One family’s terrifying escape from liquefaction

A phenomenon called liquefaction contributed to the destruction caused by the earthquake in Indonesia in September. One family recounts their incredible escape as their village sank into the ground.
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A phenomenon called liquefaction contributed to the destruction caused by the earthquake in Indonesia in September. One family recounts their incredible escape as their village sank into the ground.

Dewi, right, was pulled out of the mud by her hair after she sank up to her neck. Image: Kathleen Prior/DEC.

The earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on 28th September was devastating for many reasons, including the unexpected tsunami that struck the coast, including the regional capital of Palu.

But another reason the earthquake was so destructive was that it triggered a rare phenomenon called liquefaction where the solid ground turns to liquid mud - like quicksand. Sisters Ani and Nuri lived in Petobo, a village that was entirely destroyed by liquefaction.

“I saw ahead our neighbours’ house opposite just disappeared,” says Ani. “It just got sucked into the ground. And the coconut trees were moving towards us. We didn't know what was happening.” The sisters fled with their Ani’s daughter and her children.


A video report from the Wall Street Journal featuring footage of liquefaction near Palu.

“The ground was turning to liquid, so every time we tried to take a step our feet would disappear into the ground and we would start to sink,” says Ani who can’t tell the story without crying. “The mud, it was warm too. We kept sinking in and sometimes we would realise we were walking on the roofs of houses that had been sucked under.”

Hundreds of missing people are feared to be buried in the mud at Petobo, which has now become a place of memorial. Flags have been planted at the site reading “rest in peace”. In total, 2,100 people are known to have died in Sulawesi as a result of the earthquake, while 1,300 are still missing.


The site of the village of Petobo, which was destroyed by liquefaction. Image: Kathleen Prior/DEC.

As the family fled, their granddaughter, Dewi*, aged just two and a half, was sucked into the mud up to her neck and in desperation, Nuri pulled her out by her hair. “I grabbed her hair and yanked, until I could grasp her round the chin to get her out as the mud sucked her down,” says Nuri. At one point Ani also sank to her chest but was rescued by other people fleeing.

Liquefaction can occur when an earthquake strikes a place that rests on sediment, rather than rock, that is saturated with water. Thankfully it is quite rare, but it was observed in the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 in New Zealand, caused much destruction in the Tangshan earthquake in 1976 in China, and contributed to the damage caused by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Ani (centre) and Nuri (right) with their sister Nur-Ain (left) outside their tent at a displaced persons camp near Petobo. Image: Kathleen Prior/DEC.

It took the family eight terrifying hours to find safety as they were caught in the swirling mud, the ground moving under their feet, but thankfully they all escaped. They now live in a camp for displaced people, and thanks to your donations, are receiving help from a local partner of the British Red Cross to help them deal with the trauma of their ordeal, including access to a child-friendly space where Dewi can learn and play.

“The community are so happy to receive this assistance… Thank you very much for the assistance given to us here in the shelters,” says Ani.

Thanks to your generous support we have now raised over £25 million for our Indonesia Tsunami Appeal, helping thousands of people affected, like Ani, Nuri and Dewi. However, the level of devastation is so great, that families like theirs are still living in tents, reliant on aid agencies while their community rebuilds.


"I grabbed her by the hair, pulled as hard as I could." A video interview with Ani and Nuri.

DEC charities have been helping survivors from the moment the earthquake struck, and plan to continue to provide access to clean water after pipes and sewer systems were destroyed, as well as providing shelter and a range of other interventions including support to help rebuild people’s livelihoods.

In the first six months of the response, 10,000 families will be provided with access to clean water, while 6,900 families will receive emergency shelters and 4,000 families will receive training in how to rebuild safer housing in case disaster strikes again.

In addition, 5,000 families will receive support to help rebuild their livelihoods, 8,000 children will receive school materials to help them start learning again, while more than 9,000 households will receive cash support so that they can prioritise their own immediate needs while supporting the local economy.

The road to recovery for the region will be a long one, after such a devastating disaster, but your support is helping to put survivors back on their feet and help them begin to rebuild their lives and communities. Thank you for your support.

*The names of children have been changed.

Our Indonesia Tsunami Appeal is still open. Click here to donate and help survivors like Ani, Nuri and Dewi.

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Indonesia tsunami: As threat of disease looms, safe water and hygiene are key to saving the survivors

After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, survivors are now threatened by the spread of disease.
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After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Sulawesi, Indonesia, survivors are now threatened by the spread of disease.

Indonesia tsunamiA boy stands infornt a stranded ship after hit by the tsunami on October 2, 2018 in Donggala, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Image:Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images.

As the waters slowly recede and the true extent of the devastation continues to emerge following Indonesia’s deadly earthquake and tsunami, urgent action is needed to ensure that a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene don’t spark outbreaks of deadly diseases in disaster-ravaged communities.

Decimated infrastructure and dirty conditions mean diseases that cause diarrhoea which are transmitted through bad hygiene can cause up to 40% of all deaths in the immediate aftermath of an emergency.

DEC members and their local partners are working around the clock to reach families who have lost everything in the disaster and keep the threat of a health crisis at bay.

Andi Dyah, a water and sanitation specialist with Save the Children’s local partner in Indonesia, described the scale of the problem: “In and around Palu, the network of water pipes has been smashed to pieces. Toilets have been destroyed. Treatment facilities are broken, meaning there’s no way to treat human waste. Water taken from local sources is often brown and filled with sediment, which is incredibly dangerous for human consumption.

Andi Dyah working for Save the Children in Fiji in 2016. Image: Rob McKechnie/Save the Children.

“We’re seeing more and more people reporting cases of diarrhoea. This is incredibly worrying for children, who are more likely to succumb to dehydration or malnutrition because of diarrhoea. With open defecation the only option for many families, we have a health crisis waiting.

“If consistent supplies of clean drinking water can’t be established quickly, we’re going to see a significant increase in cases of diarrhoea in the coming days and weeks, as well as other illnesses like water-borne diseases.

“Being from Sulawesi myself, it’s hard to believe what has happened. It breaks my heart to see so many people suffering. It’s going to take a long time to recover. For me personally it means so much to be here as part of the humanitarian response.”

In the face of this threat, DEC members across the board are rapidly scaling up their water, sanitation and hygiene responses.

Basics like soap, buckets and tarpaulins can be the key to saving lives. But it is also vital to re-establish safe water supplies.

Save the Children, though its local partner,has distributed a shipment of hygiene kits, fresh water kits and shelter kits. Daily distributions planned over the coming weeks.

Access to clean drinking water is a priority for DEC member charities as diseases that cause diarrhoea can be deadly for children. Image: Adi Hutomo/Wahana Visi Indonesia.

In addition, the British Red Cross is mobilizing water trucks; Islamic relief are distributing toiletries and bottled water; Oxfam plan to provide toilets and hygiene kits and Plan International Indonesia has distributed tarpaulins to shield bathing spaces so girls and women will feel safe and secure while washing.

At time of writing the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi stands at more than 1,700 – with 5,000 people thought to be missing. But as aid workers and rescuers continue to reach areas previously inaccessible due to the destruction, the full

scale of the disaster is only just becoming clear. Sadly, numbers of those killed and injured are expected to climb still higher.

You can donate to the DEC's Indonesia Tsunami Appeal here.

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Indonesia Tsunami Appeal

An earthquake followed by a tsunami struck Sulawesi, Indonesia in September leaving behind a trail of destruction, and hundreds of thousands of survivors in need of food, water and shelter.
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On Friday 28 September, an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, triggering a terrifying tsunami that reached 18 feet in height and left a trail of destruction in its wake. In some places, the ground turned to liquid mud, destroying whole villages.

Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed and entire communities decimated. At least 2,100 people were killed, 1,300 are still missing and 4,400 were seriously injured. 

The disaster left 200,000 survivors in need of humanitarian assistance, around a quarter of whom were children. At the start of 2019, 133,000 people were still displaced, with many living in tents and reliant on aid.

DEC member charities and their Indonesian partners are working closely with national authorities to provide shelter and clean water while helping survivors to cope with trauma and rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

Stand with the survivors and please give generously. You can also find our fundraising pack full of ideas to help raise money here.

Image credit: The Asahi Shimbun/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images.

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Yemen crisis: How your donations are still helping people affected by the war

As the war in Yemen continues into its fourth year, DEC member charities are working in extremely difficult conditions to provide relief to civilians caught up in the conflict.
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As the war in Yemen continues into its fourth year, DEC member charities are working in extremely difficult conditions to provide relief to civilians caught up in the conflict.

Children whose family was displaced from Taiz to a village in Lahj. They now benefit from a DEC-funded water supply project. Ammar Bamatraf/DEC.

The war in Yemen has brought terrible suffering to the civilian population of what was already one of the world’s poorest countries. In December 2016, the DEC launched the Yemen Crisis Appeal to raise funds on behalf of its member charities. The response of the UK public was generous as ever and by the time the appeal closed in May 2018, the appeal had raised £30 million, with £20 million coming to the DEC and £10 million being donated to directly to members.

After our initial six-month phase, DEC funding has continued to provide essential aid to families struggling to deal with the impact of the war. While aid isn’t a solution to the crisis, your donations can provide a lifeline to families who have lost everything and despite the difficult conditions brought on by the conflict and blockade of major ports, DEC member charities are working to get aid to people who need it. Here are some of the ways your donations helped between July 2017 and June 2018.
 

By providing health support


Aaliyah, 5, is proscribed medicine after being diagnosed with a fever in Lahj, Yemen. Ammar Bamatraf/DEC.

Both a rise in contagious diseases like cholera and violence-related injuries have combined with a lack of funding and medicines to cause a crisis in healthcare in Yemen, which was already basic by the standards of the region. DEC charities have used your donations to combat this, providing 364,000 people with health support in the year to June. This included providing access to essential medicines to 237,000 people, 80,000 of whom were treated for contagious diseases or violence-related injuries.
 

By providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene services

Mushtaq and his family benefit from access to clean water through a DEC-funded project. His children used to have to walk long distances to fetch water, but now can go to school. Ammar Bamatraf/DEC.

The war in Yemen has devastated the country’s infrastructure, including water systems. This has left many people without a supply of clean water and encouraged the spread of deadly diseases like cholera and acute watery diarrhea which often hit children the hardest. In the year to June, DEC funds enabled our members to reach 246,000 people with water, sanitation and hygiene projects. That includes 27,000 people who received cholera prevention kits and 30 health facilities that were equipped with improved water and sanitation facilities to stop the spread of disease.

Yasseen, 40, had to flee his home with his family. "Our homes, work and possessions have all been destroyed in Taiz," he said. "The war with constant bombing meant it was no longer safe for us and the children to stay, so with the help of God we fled. Whilst this is not home, we are safe here. People have been kind to us; our kids go to the local school; and Oxfam [funded by the DEC] provided the water supply network without which it would be really difficult."
 

By providing food

Salem, 47, collects a food parcel from a DEC-funded distribution point in Lahj, Yemen. Ammar Bamatraf/DEC.

The war has had a devastating effect on food security in Yemen with 8.4 million people now severely food insecure according to the UN, and the blockade currently in place on the port of Hodeida - the main trade route to the capital Sana’a - is making the situation worse. DEC funds provided 61,000 people with food parcels or vouchers in the year to June.

Aioosh, 60, received food parcels from a DEC-funded project in Lahj. "I head the household and feel responsible to keep family safe and fed,” she said. “The war has affected us all. This area became a battleground – we had to flee our homes to save our lives. By the time we came back there was no electricity, no water, and homes had been badly damaged. Some lost homes completely. May God protect those that have helped us…. We are much better now thanks to that help – thank you."
 

By providing emergency nutrition

Aarya, 7, right, was found to be malnourished at a mobile clinic. Her family now receives food from a DEC-funded project in Lahj. Ammar Bamatraf/DEC.

Food shortages hit the very young and old hardest, and specialist nutrition interventions are required, for example by prescribing fortified peanut paste. In the year to June, DEC funds enabled our members to reach 33,000 people with nutrition assistance, including 3,700 children under five who were treated for moderate acute malnutrition, 1,700 children under five who were treated for severe acute malnutrition and 2,200 pregnant and lactating women who were treated for moderate acute malnutrition. 3,800 older people were also screened for malnutrition.
 

By giving people the means to support themselves

Rasha, 35, benefited from a cash-for-work scheme to help build a water supply to her village in Lahj. Ammar Bamatraf/DEC.

Although Yemen’s economy has suffered greatly, markets are still active in some areas. In situations like this, and especially when logistics can be difficult, giving people in need cash so that they can support themselves can be very effective while also helping local business owners. DEC funds provided 10,000 people with cash transfers to help them meet their immediate needs, and a further 6,500 people took part in cash-for-work schemes in which they were paid so that they could support themselves in exchange for working on infrastructure projects like rebuilding roads and water networks.

Our Yemen appeal is now closed, but you can find a list of our member charities with open appeals here.

Help the DEC respond to the next crisis by donating to the DEC Emergency Fund.

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Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones: what’s the difference?

Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones can all have devastating effects when they make landfall, but what’s the difference, and when are they most common?
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Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones can all have devastating effects when they make landfall, but what’s the difference, and when are they most common?​

Typhoon MangkhutTyphoon Mangkhut heads towards the Philippines on 12 September 2018. Nasa Earth Observatory.

Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones can all have devastating effects when they make landfall, and the Disasters Emergency Committee has launched many appeals in their aftermath – most recently Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines in 2013.

But what’s the difference between these different types of tropical storm? The answer might be simpler than you think: location. Otherwise, they are essentially the same. (Although, just like water going down a plug hole, they turn counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern.)

Hurricanes form in the North Atlantic, northeastern Pacific, the Caribbean Sea and occasionally the Gulf of Mexico, usually making landfall in the US, Caribbean, Mexico or Central America.

The DEC hasn’t launched an appeal for a hurricane since the 1998 Central America Hurricane Appeal. This is largely because most countries affected by hurricanes now have the capacity and preparedness to deal with their effects without the need for large scale international assistance or are able to access regional response capacity. (You can find out more about when we launch an appeal here.)

Typhoons form in the northwestern Pacific and make landfall in East Asian countries such as the Philippines, China, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The DEC launched the Philippines Typhoon appeal in 2013 after Typhoon Haiyan tore a path of destruction over 100 miles wide through the centre of the country, bringing torrential rain, gusts of more than 300 km per hour and a storm surge of more than five metres that devastated coastal areas. In 2009, the DEC launched the Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam Appeal following Typhoon Ketsana, a major earthquake and Typhoon Padang all striking the region within just 10 days.

Cyclones are formed in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean and generally make landfall in Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh and also Madagascar and Australia.

The DEC has launched many appeals following cyclones, including the Myanmar Cyclone Appeal in 2007 after Cyclone Nargis wrought destruction along the eastern coast, including Yangon, the country’s largest city. The 1999 India Cyclone Appeal was launched after a violent cyclone was followed by a storm surge tidal wave.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs June-November, peaking between late August and October. Typhoons and cyclones happen all year round, but the peak season for the Philippines is May to November, while Bangladesh has one from April to May and another from October to November.

To help the DEC be ready next time disaster strikes, you can donate to the DEC Emergency Fund.

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Providing safe sanitation one year into the crisis in Cox’s Bazar

Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross and a DEC trustee, meets the people in limbo in the world's largest refugee camp.
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Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross and a DEC trustee, meets the people in limbo in the world's largest refugee camp.

Mike Adamson stands in the rain in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp during his recent visit. Farzana Hossen/British Red Cross.

Faecal sludge management (FSM to the cognoscenti), is not the most glamorous part of the work of the British Red Cross, but it is one of the most important in Cox’s Bazar, southeast Bangladesh, where around one million people are stranded in what is now considered the largest refugee camp in the world.

One year on from the escalation of violence that led hundreds of thousands to flee, it is clear that conditions are not yet conducive for safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return. During my recent visit, I met a young man called Youssef (left). When I asked him whether he wanted to stay or go home he said: “how can we stay here, this is not our home.”  Yet, having fled violence in Rakhine State, people are now stuck in limbo, unable to return to Myanmar and not able to truly establish a new life here - to work, go to school, live safely - all the things we take for granted.

In the meantime, the conditions families now find themselves living in are horrendous. Despite the much needed funding from organisations like the DEC and the hard work of humanitarian actors, basic needs for shelter, water, sanitation, protection, healthcare and psychosocial support are barely met. People are living on steep slopes prone to landslides. All this is compounded by monsoon rains, which add another layer of difficulty and danger to the lives of people here.

But we do not give up. The Red Cross and Red Crescent, including the British Red Cross, are working alongside the camp community, even as the rains fall, to reinforce shelters and makeshift paths and to prevent the spread of disease.

Hygiene promotion is a key part of the work of the British Red Cross. Farzana Hossen/British Red Cross.

This is where FSM comes in – if you put hundreds of thousands of people in one place, without a way to dispose of human faeces the risk of waterborne diseases and worse is enormous. In one part of the camp, the British Red Cross is working with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and with volunteers from the camp community on a programme of building pit latrines, hygiene promotion and FSM. 

Drying beds at the British Red Cross FSM site which treats 3,000 litres of human waste a day. AJ Ghani/British Red Cross.

DEC funds have helped us train volunteers to literally empty latrines by hand (right) and carry the faecal sludge in barrels for safe processing with lime in the treatment site we have created. The site treats around 3,000 litres of human waste every single day, making it safe for disposal and even to use as fertiliser for planting trees.

Across the camps the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is operating one if its largest responses in the world, running the only 24 hour seven-day-a-week surgical hospital; distributing emergency supplies; helping people reinforce their shelters; setting up protection programmes for the most vulnerable in the camps and much more.

But one year into the crisis we are asking ourselves: what next? All signs suggest that the refugee crisis in Bangladesh is going to last for years and funding to the crisis is likely to decrease as time wears on. The current situation is not sustainable, neither for refugees living in the camps nor humanitarian agencies.

Refugees in the camps remain dignified and resilient, but there is no denying that people still require the absolute basics. That means large scale investment in better shelter, sanitation and education on a semi-permanent basis. In particular, attention is needed to protection, with sexual and gender based violence and trafficking some of the key risks refugees in Bangladesh are facing.

Attention is needed on medium to long term steps that might help create a safer and more dignified reality for those who have fled, including steps to support their resilience and self-reliance. DEC and other funding has allowed organisations like the British Red Cross to respond to this emergency, but now we need sustainable funding for the future.

No one is just sitting around waiting for help but they need our support. AJ Ghani/British Red Cross.

As we approach the first anniversary of their arrival, we must continue to give a voice to those who fled, ensuring that this does not become one more forgotten crisis, and that support continues to be given to meet needs that are unlikely to diminish for some years to come.

Find out more about how the British Red Cross has used DEC funds on their website.

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Media briefing: One year on from the Rohingya exodus

One year on from the start of the most recent exodus of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh, please find below an update on the DEC’s appeal, including funds raised to date and how those funds have been spent. 

  • The DEC appeal launched on 4 October 2017 and is due to close end of August 2018 
  • £28 million has been raised to date (including £5 million UK Aid Match) 

More than 700,000 people have now arrived in the Cox’s Bazar district since 25 August 2017 and in total there are 1.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in the area. The Kutupalong-Balukhali expansion site, informally known as the megacamp, is now considered the world’s biggest refugee camp. 

In the first six months of the DEC-funded response to the crisis (October 2017-March 2018), DEC funding provided: 

  • 351,500 people with food assistance - more than the population of Cardiff 
  • 34,000 families with household essentials such as blankets and pots and pans 
  • 124,400 people with clean drinking water and sanitation, including the construction of 90 deep tube wells 
  • 19,500 families with materials to build a shelter  
  • 42,300 people with free medical care and health support 
  • 28,200 vulnerable people with some form of protection, including the provision of 43 ‘safe spaces’ for vulnerable people such as women, children and older people 
  • 10,700 families with vouchers to buy fresh food 

The second phase of the DEC-funded response runs from April 2018 to September 2019. Plans for assistance during this period include: support to nine health facilities and two mobile clinics helping 200,000 people; 55 deep tube wells to provide clean drinking water; public and individual solar lamps to keep 11,000 people safe at night; agricultural tools and seeds as well as business grants to help 15,000 people restore their livelihoods. 
 
Monsoon rains are falling, but it is expected that the worst is yet to come. DEC charities are assisting by reinforcing shelters; strengthening the site of the refugee settlements using sandbags and bamboo to prevent landslides; decommissioning and desludging latrines and digging deep tube wells to prevent water contamination and the spread of disease; meeting ongoing food needs. 
 
The full DEC 6-month report is available here.

Ends 
 
Notes to editors 
 
Spokespeople from DEC members are available for interview as follows: 
Age International: Rabeya Sultana (HelpAge International), Bangladesh Country Director, in Bangladesh. Jahingir Alam (HelpAge International), Emergency Programme Manager, in Bangladesh. [Note: Rabeya is on leave until 25 August]. 
British Red Cross: Jack Frith-Powell, British Red Cross Programme Manager, in Cox’s Bazar. 
CAFOD: Janet Symes, Head of Asia, travelled to Cox’s Bazar earlier this year. 
Concern Worldwide: Darren Vaughan, Senior Communications Officer, in UK and visited refugee camps early August. 
Islamic Relief: Oliver Kyaw, Myanmar Country Director, in Myanmar. 
Oxfam: Dorothy Sang, Oxfam Advocacy Manager, in Cox’s Bazar. Oxfam CEO Mark Goldring (just back from visit to the refugee camps), in the UK. 
Plan International UK: Dominika Kronsteiner, Emergencies Programme Manager, spent a lot of time in Cox’s Bazar. Orla Murphy, Country Director Bangladesh, in Cox’s Bazar.  
World Vision: Jimmy Tuhaise, Emergency Response Director for the Rohingya Crisis, in Cox’s Bazar. Fred Witteveen, National Director for World Vision Bangladesh, in Cox’s Bazar. Nicola Hannigan, Emergency Response Manager, in UK. Sarah Pickwick, Senior Conflict Adviser, in UK. 
 
Our April 2018 appeal update can be found here.

The DEC’s East Africa Crisis Appeal is now closed. It launched on 15 March 2017 and raised £66.4 million (including £10m UK Aid Match). Read the six-month report here.

The DEC’s Yemen Crisis Appeal is now closed. It launched on 13 December 2016 and raised £30.3 million (including £5m UK Aid Match). Read the 6-month report here.

In instances where more than one DEC member charity is working in the same location, delivering the same kind of assistance, DEC aims to eliminate potential double-counting of people by including only the highest numbers reached at that location. 

The figures above refer to results achieved with funds donated directly to the DEC, and do not include results with donations given directly to member charities, which are part of the joint campaign’s fundraising total. 

The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
 
The UK Government has supported all three of the DEC’s most recent appeals through UK Aid Match, by matching £ for £ money donated by the British public: £5 million for Yemen, £10 million for East Africa and £5 million for Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar.