The Disasters Emergency Committee said today (Thurs 21 March) that its members and their partners were still seeking over £150m to respond to the Syria crisis. The new figure was released as the umbrella group of 14 leading UK charities launched the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal.
The DEC said the funds were urgently required to provide aid such as food, clean water, emergency shelter and medical care. Over five million people have been affected by the fighting in Syria, with three million being forced from their homes.
The £150m figure is funds required from all UK and international sources - it is not the target for the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal which focuses on the UK public and is launching today with broadcast appeals on all major television and radio networks.
Michael Palin will front the BBC television appeal while actor Rufus Sewell will present the appeal for ITV, Channel 4, Sky, Channel Five and other outlets. The appeals will be broadcast primarily at the end of the early evening news programmes. Broadcaster and journalist John McCarthy will voice the BBC radio appeal and actress Juliet Stevenson will voice the commercial radio appeal.
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said:
“The humanitarian crisis in Syria has now turned into a catastrophe. Our members can get more aid to people inside Syria and to families who have fled to neighbouring countries. We are asking the public for their support for people whose lives have been ripped apart by war.”
“The fighting inside Syria makes delivering aid there very hard but it is not impossible. It is also hard to show people in the UK what is going on without putting aid work and aid workers at risk. We trust that the public will understand the great need of families in Syria even if they cannot always see their suffering or the work we are doing to help.”
There are now over three million people who have been forced to flee their homes by the fighting in Syria. One million have fled to neighbouring countries but a further two million are trapped in a country where the health system has collapsed in many areas, water supplies have been disrupted and food is often in short supply. The number of refugees fleeing the country has increased from 1,000 a day at the beginning of the year to over 8,000 a day.
The DEC does not set fundraising targets for its appeals and is always grateful for whatever support the UK public are able to offer. The £1.5bn of aid pledged in January by international donors, including the UK government, was promised to support the response of the UN agencies to the Syria crisis. So far (6 March) only 37% of the funds had actually be transferred.
To make a donation to the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal visit http://www.dec.org.uk, call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.
Stay up to date with developments in Syria, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter:http://twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via http://www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee