The Disasters Emergency Committee’s annual report, published today (22 July 2009) at its Annual General Meeting, highlights the ongoing generosity of the British public and the difference that their donations make to the lives of disaster survivors in poorer countries.
In the past 12 months, the UK public has donated over £24 million to three Disasters Emergency Committee appeals, enabling Member Agencies* to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need.
When the Disasters Emergency Committee raised its appeal for the Democratic Republic of Congo, over 250,000 people were newly displaced. Families had been torn apart by violence and sexual brutality, with many children fleeing their homes and needing help. Due to the work of Member Agencies, 660 children have been reunited with their families and 32 registration posts have been arranged for separated and accompanied children. Widespread health, water and sanitation programmes have taken place, reaching over 204,000 households to date.
When Myanmar was struck by Cyclone Nargis, urgent action was essential. Despite the difficulties of reaching people, Member Agencies have helped over 326,000 households in the most affected areas. Support around health, food, shelter, education and livelihoods continues to be provided.
Most recently, the Disasters Emergency Committee has raised money for the Gaza Crisis Appeal. Children bore the brunt of the humanitarian crisis with 412 killed and over 1,855 injured; even before the conflict over 50,000 children were malnourished. Member Agencies have focused on providing urgent healthcare services alongside provision of shelter and re-establishment of food and agricultural programmes.
Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, said:
“The Disasters Emergency Committee was the largest private funder following the Cyclone in Bangladesh and we’re pleased that the British public has continued to be generous in tough times, helping to get much needed assistance to people suffering from the consequences of conflict and natural disasters.
“Appeals are just the beginning. Our Member Agencies provide much needed immediate assistance but they also work to rebuild lives. We are all focused on providing quality humanitarian assistance, thereby ensuring the public’s donations meet the most critical needs and enable those affected to take control of their lives.”
In addition to these recent disaster responses, Member Agencies have continued to work in Bangladesh and South East Asia following natural disasters in 2007 and 2004. In Bangladesh for example, approximately 35,770 children were provided with school supplies and learning materials, and 2,950 people were given grants to help them rebuild sources of income. Following the Tsunami in 2004, 20,000 homes were built by DEC agencies in Aceh alone and this year, agencies have been working in disaster risk reduction.
The Disasters Emergency Committee’s Annual General Meeting, will focus on ‘delivering humanitarian aid in the current global environment’, with representatives from Member Agencies talking about successes and challenges on the ground.
Feisal Hussain of Think Ahead Consulting and Sir Nicholas Young, Chief Executive of British Red Cross will talk about fostering self reliance through local capacity building and how this reduces the risk of dependency in disaster prone communities.
James Darcy – Director of Programmes at the Humanitarian Programmes Group, ODI and Geoffrey Dennis - Chief Executive Care International UK, who has just returned from Gaza will talk about the challenge of reaching displaced populations in conflict environments potentially compromising the relief effort.
Notes to editors
* The DEC has 13 Member Agencies: Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide (UK), Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.
For further information, or to arrange an interview please contact Shaheena Sachedina on 020 7403 2230 or email: Shaheena@forster.co.uk
The Disasters Emergency Committee brings together the leading UK aid agencies to raise money at times of humanitarian crisis in poorer countries. We unite to make it simple for the public to give to those who urgently need help and are supported by organisations including the major broadcasters, BT and British Bankers Association. Our member agencies use the money raised to help those affected by disasters rebuild their lives.
The decision to launch an appeal is made by the Disasters Emergency Committee board, consisting of the member agencies and independent trustees, using three basic criteria: the need for help; the ability to help; and the likelihood of raising money from the UK public. Each fundraising appeal is fully monitored and reviewed to make sure the money raised is spent as effectively as possible. The Disasters Emergency Committee has run 58 appeals over the last 45 years and raised approximately £1bn.