The Disasters Emergency Committee has raised more than £7 million for people fleeing Myanmar, as well as the overstretched communities hosting them in Bangladesh. The appeal launched on Wednesday (4 October).
Of the amount raised so far, £2.7 million has been provided by UK aid, pledged by the British Government, to make public donations go further.
The thirteen DEC member charities are already on the ground in Bangladesh providing temporary shelter, emergency healthcare, food, clean drinking water and sanitation services, such as latrines and hygiene kits.
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “The UK public has, once again, demonstrated their generosity and compassion. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has donated. These vital funds will help our member charities scale up their response to this crisis.
“More than 100,000 emergency shelters and 25,000 toilets are urgently needed. Some 24,000 pregnant women require maternity care. We would urge the public to continue giving.”
On Saturday trucks containing water tanks and other lifesaving equipment from the UK arrived in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people arriving from Myanmar in the last month.
The 15-tonne shipment, which was dispatched from Oxfam's Bicester warehouse in late September, included materials for building toilets and water distribution systems – equipment that will help prevent the outbreak of disease in the muddy camps where people are sheltering from the monsoon in makeshift huts. It was flown from Heathrow airport to Dhaka before being loaded onto trucks for the journey to Cox's Bazar.
Oxfam’s humanitarian coordinator in Bangladesh, Paolo Lubrano, said: “The conditions I have seen in overcrowded settlements are beyond miserable. Refugees are facing a toxic combination of wet weather, overcrowding and poor sanitation. Thanks to the generosity of the British public, this shipment will allow us to provide clean water and install toilets to keep people healthy.”
Bangladesh has been hit by severe flooding in recent weeks and is still in the grips of the monsoon. Newly arrived families are living on bare muddy ground without drainage or anywhere to wash. In such circumstances, the outbreak of dangerous diseases like Cholera is almost inevitable.
To make a donation to the DEC Emergency 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. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.
The UK Government will match pound for pound the first £3 million donated by the public to the DEC Emergency Appeal.