DEC Coronavirus Appeal raises £5 million in first day


DEC Coronavirus Appeal: £5 million donated in first day to help protect people fleeing from conflict and instability who now face deadly Covid-19

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Coronavirus Appeal for people in some of the world’s most fragile places has raised over £5 million at the end of the first day.

Appeals fronted by presenter Anita Rani for BBC and award-winning actor and musician Riz Ahmed for ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky were broadcast following last night's news bulletins. Iconic singer-songwriter Annie Lennox has also presented an appeal for DEC Scotland, as well as further appeals being shared widely across commercial radio.

The DEC Coronavirus Appeal was launched on Tuesday 14 July to raise funds to help the most vulnerable communities in the world fleeing from conflict and instability who now face the new deadly threat of Covid-19.

Saleh Saeed, DEC Chief Executive, said: “Here in the UK we have all had to make unprecedented sacrifices to protect each other and save lives, so it is deeply humbling to also see the British public responding so generously to those in the world’s most fragile places who desperately need our help. I thank too the UK Government which is matching pound for pound the first £5 million donated by the public, as well as our broadcast partners for airing our appeal, reaching millions of viewers and listeners.”

“We are very fortunate here to have an incredible National Health Service which has cared for those who have fallen ill. The money so generously donated to the DEC appeal will help people in countries where there is no NHS; families who have fled conflict and hunger – and who are now living in overcrowded refugee and displacement camps with few hospital beds or medical supplies.”

The DEC Appeal aims to protect people from the virus in the world’s five most fragile states (Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo) plus Afghanistan, the most fragile state in Asia, and the world’s largest refugee camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Riz Ahmed, whose appeal was aired on ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky last night, said: “Coronavirus is now threatening refugee camps and displaced people in countries like Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. Families who have already fled conflict and persecution are facing a deadly new and silent threat. People like the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar have little access to running water or soap to protect themselves. Hospitals and clinics in these communities don’t have the staff or equipment to cope with the kind of outbreak we have experienced here. DEC charities are working hard to help stop the spread of Covid-19. These communities, who have already suffered so much, urgently need our support and solidarity.”

It is the first time that the DEC has launched an appeal for a disaster that has simultaneously affected both the UK and internationally. DEC appeals fund international disasters and the 14 DEC member charities are already present and working in refugee and displacement camps in the world’s most fragile states, despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic. But they urgently need more funds to scale up their operations and save lives.

John Herriman, CEO of the National Emergencies Trust, which launches appeals for domestic disasters, said: “There remains much uncertainty around what lies ahead for the UK. The need within many communities has not gone away and will continue to evolve as the longer-term impacts of this pandemic become clearer and more keenly felt.

“However, we can be very certain that the global crisis is intensifying and it will have devastating effects on people all over the world. The launch of the DEC’s international appeal at this time is therefore absolutely vital.”

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Notes to editors

Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours).

UK Aid Match enquiries should be directed to the Department for International Development. Please call 020 7023 0600 (24-hour).

For more spokespeople and detailed briefings, please visit our media centre.

About the DEC: When large-scale disasters hit countries without the capacity to respond, the DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently. In these times of crisis, people in life-and-death situations need our help and our mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response. The DEC’s 14 member charities are: 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 £5 million. UK Government match funding will go directly to the DEC, doubling the value of the public’s own donations to the DEC appeal up to £5 million and will ensure that DEC member charities working on the ground can reach even more people in need.

UK Aid Match 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 Cyclone Idai which hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in March 2019.

UK Aid Match enquiries should be directed to the Department for International Development. Please call 020 7023 0600 (24-hour).

How to donate:  

  • Online: 
  • Phone: 0370 60 60 900 
  • SMS: Text SUPPORT to 70150 to donate £10.  Texts cost £10 and the whole £10 goes to the DEC CORONAVIRUS 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
  • Post: Send a cheque to DEC Coronavirus Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA.

Donations will help provide the following:

  • £30 could provide six displaced families with enough soap for a month
  • £50 could provide essential hygiene kits to two displaced families
  • £100 could provide PPE for one frontline health worker for four months.