The nation's faith leaders, including the Anglican Archbishop of York, the Catholic Bishops' Conference, the Church of Scotland and the Muslim Council of Britain, have urged Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths and none to support the DEC’s Emergency Appeal for people fleeing Myanmar.
Across the country, supporters of the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) faith-based charities are answering the call to help the estimated half a million people – mostly women and children from Myanmar – who have arrived in Bangladesh, where they are living in squalid conditions in overflowing, makeshift camps and settlements. These people are exhausted, traumatised and in urgent need of shelter, medical care, water and food.
The faith-based charities CAFOD, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Tearfund and World Vision UK, which are among the 13 leading UK aid charity members of the DEC, are calling on local churches, mosques and faith communities to support its Emergency Appeal for people fleeing Myanmar, which launched on Wednesday 4 October 2017.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said:
“Some 500,000 men, women and children in Bangladesh are living in squalid conditions in makeshift camps without access to clean drinking water and food. These people have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh over the past few weeks with little than the clothes on their backs. Thousands of young children are suffering from malnutrition.
“As people of faith, we are called to help those who are poor and in desperate need. Please be generous and support the DEC Emergency Appeal so that the aid agencies on the ground can provide the shelter, sanitation, care and assistance these people need so urgently. Please act at once. Thank you very much.”
Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the Department of International Affairs at the Catholic Bishops' Conference, said:
“Our faith calls us to support all those who are facing violence and persecution, and the DEC appeal is a vital way of helping the hundreds of thousands of people who find themselves far from home and sleeping in makeshift shelters with no food, clean water or means of providing for their families. I urge Catholics and all people who care for justice across England and Wales to remember these people fleeing Myanmar in their prayers and to support the DEC appeal."
The Right Rev Dr Derek Browning, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said:
“In the past month the world has watched as a humanitarian crisis has continued to unfold before our very eyes. Over 500,000 people have now fled the violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar and are seeking refuge in Bangladesh.
“Having been left with little they are in desperate need of food, shelter, water and medical care, while the communities hosting them remain perilously overstretched. That is why I am encouraging everyone to give generously to the Disasters Emergency Committee Myanmar Appeal.
"With your support organisations such as Christian Aid can immediately respond to meet the needs of those whose lives have been torn apart by the conflict. With your support we can provide some hope in an otherwise dire and urgent situation.”
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said:
"For the Muslim Council of Britain, the work of the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) coming to the aid of people fleeing Myanmar is of paramount humanitarian importance. There are huge numbers in camps in Bangladesh in need of succour, and much needs to be done to co-ordinate and deliver aid."
Charity supporters are being asked to fundraise, organise collections and to pray for the hundreds of thousands of people in need of food, shelter, clean water and medical care. The money raised will help all 13 DEC member charities responding to the crisis to reach more people in dire need with food and medical supplies.
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.
Stay up to date with developments in Bangladesh, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: www.twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee.