The Disasters Emergency Committee logo is displayed in lights from London’s BT Tower, broadcasting the appeal for help for Pakistan across the capital. The call has been duly heeded, as the DEC reports funds have reached £17 million.
The appeal for assistance for the 20 million people in Pakistan affected by the country’s worst floods in living memory has inspired widespread generosity, with examples of individual and corporate giving pouring in from across the UK.
The average gift is a generous £60, with the majority of funds coming from individual donors.
The England Cricket Team seized the opportunity of their second test match against Pakistan at Edgbaston on 6-8 August to harness crowd support, raising over £4,000 from collections during the event.
As the extent of the disaster mounts, corporations, too, are digging deep. Vodafone Foundation, for example, have given £74,000. Marks and Spencer have donated £25,000 and Unilever over £164,000 of donations in kind. Gifts of over £10,000 each have also come in from SPAR and Cotteswold Dairy amongst many others.
Donations have continued from individuals, families, schools and councils. Slough Weekend Islamic School raised more than £3,400 over the weekend as fifteen pupils aged 12-16 and fifteen adult volunteers took to the streets in the driving rain with collection tins. Headmaster Pervez Akhtar said the scale of the disaster and televised images of the devastation moved staff and students to take action.
Meilyr Tomos, 21, from Pembrokeshire raised over £400 by playing the keyboard at the National Eisteddfod of Wales. Meilyr, who was born with Down’s Syndrome, was touched by the floods in Pakistan and decided to collect money for the appeal during his performance.
Other endeavours include sponsored head shaving, a ‘cakeathon’, an office tea party, skydiving, car washing, dietathon, busking, cracker eating and sponsored walks.
Disasters Emergency Committee Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:
“It is clear this appeal has struck a chord with people across the UK and giving remains consistently high as the disaster worstens. We need this support to continue. With floodwaters still spreading and hundreds more villages being flooded, the situation for millions of people in Pakistan is increasingly desperate. We are also very concerned about recent reports of cholera cases in the Swat Valley.
“Thanks to the generosity of the public, DEC member agencies have already reached over 600,000 people on the ground but understandably, given the scale of the disaster, access to some areas remains challenging.”
The DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal is separate from the pledges being sought by the United Nations which is hoping to secure funds from governments worldwide.
A summary of all other DEC Member Agency efforts can be found here.
To make a donation to the DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, visit http://www.dec.org.uk or donate over the counter at any post office or high street bank, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word GIVE to 70707 – see details below.
Anyone wanting to stay up to date with developments in Pakistan, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts can follow the DEC on twitter at http://twitter.com/decappeal or become a fan of ‘Disasters-Emergency-Committee-DEC’ on Facebook.
Notes to editors:
- To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC Pakistan Floods Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.
- Donations can be made at any high street bank.
- To donate at a Post Office quote Freepay 1384.
- To donate £5 by text send the word GIVE to 70707. A standard network rate charge will apply.
- The DEC consists of: Action Aid, Age UK, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, World Vision.
BT is providing telephone network management support for the emergency appeal.
The giant LED screen is 280 square metres - equivalent to half the length of a football pitch. It is wrapped around the Tower’s 36 and 37th floors at a height of 167 metres above street level.