Media briefing on ongoing DEC appeals


DEC-funded response to humanitarian disasters in East Africa, in Yemen and the Rohingya crisis

In the past year, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched three appeals in response to three urgent humanitarian emergencies:

  • An appeal for Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar was launched on 4 October 2017 and has raised £21 million to date
  • The East Africa Crisis Appeal was launched on 15 March 2017 and has, to date, raised £64 million
  • The Yemen Crisis Appeal was launched on 13 December 2016 and has, to date, raised £27 million
  • Member charities have provided assistance for up to 3.3 million people, with DEC funds.


Rohingya crisis

626,000 people[i], mostly Rohingya women and children, have fled violence in Myanmar since 25 August 2017. Basic services are desperately required to meet the needs of a growing population in the Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh. Conditions in the overcrowded camps are now so critical that outbreaks of communicable diseases are likely. 

On 23 November, a deal was struck between the Government of Myanmar and Bangladesh for the return of people who have fled across the border.  The repatriation is due to start in January 2018 but the criteria for return, safeguards for the Rohingya people against further violence and a path to resolve their legal status need to be determined. The DEC will be monitoring this situation closely so that DEC member charities can respond to a changing situation. 

The DEC’s appeal for Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar was launched on 4 October 2017 and has already raised £21 million, including £5 million UK Aid Match.

  • All DEC member charities are responding in Cox’s Bazar through direct operations or supporting local and international partners.
  • DEC member charities plan to reach up to 500,000 people with some form of humanitarian assistance from DEC funds by April 2018.
  • In the first six months of the DEC-funded response, until end of March 2018, DEC member charities plan to provide:
    • Access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation for more than 250,000 people
    • Food parcels for 217,295 people, to include items such as rice, lentils and oil
    • Shelter kits for up to 10,000 households
    • Basic household item packages for up to 10,000 households, including blankets, mattresses, pots and pans, plates and cups 
    • Access to basic health services for 160,000 people 
    • Protection and support for 140,000, mainly women and girls, with psycho-social counselling, dignity kits and access to safe spaces


East Africa – widespread food insecurity continues

In South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, drought and conflict left almost 23 million people in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment by March 2017, when the DEC launched its appeal. While relief assistance in 2017 has been preventing a rapid deterioration of the humanitarian crisis by providing a life-line to people and communities in these four countries, persistent drought and ongoing fighting continue to affect the lives of millions. A sustained, and in places, increased relief effort is needed into 2018 to protect livelihoods and prevent loss of life.

The DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal

  • £64 million has now been raised since the launch of the appeal on 15 March 2017, including £10 million UK Aid Match contribution.
  • By the end of the first six months of the response, by end September 2017, all 13 DEC member charities had provided some form of humanitarian assistance to a total of more than 2 million people across the four countries.  
  • Despite continuing conflict in South Sudan and in Al Shabab-controlled areas of Somalia, DEC members managed to get aid through to some remote areas.
  • DEC member charities concentrated efforts on the provision of food, water, cash, health, hygiene and sanitation support to help people meet their immediate needs.
  • Food parcels and vouchers have been provided to 330,000 people and more than 250,000 people received cash to buy food and other basic items.
  • More than 800,000 people have been reached with clean drinking water; through renovation and building of wells, boreholes, reservoirs and storage tanks.
  • To help stop the spread of communicable diseases DEC members ran campaigns targeting more than 438,000 people with hygiene messaging, provided cholera treatment to 10,532 people and trained 3,246 health staff.
  • To support incomes, animal feed has been provided to 211,474 farmers, as well as treating and vaccinating animals. Tools, seeds, fishing lines and hooks have also been provided to help people supplement basic food supplies.
  • DEC-funded operations will continue until September 2018, with a focus on food provision and disease prevention and treatment, although the work of DEC member charities will continue long after DEC funds run out.


Yemen – facing one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises

Even before the recent disruption to the ports of Al Hudayah and Salif, Yemen was already facing the largest food security emergency in the world, with more than 15 million[ii]people facing crisis or worse food insecurity levels. If there is continued disruption to imports, the people of Yemen are likely to face a risk of famine (IPC Phase 5) across large areas of the country, as worst-affected households begin to exhaust their coping capacity. 

Large-scale humanitarian assistance continues to play an important role in preventing more severe levels of food insecurity. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) estimates that in 10 governorates, including Abyan, Aden, Hajjah, Sana’a, and Ta’izz food security outcomes would be at least one phase more critical in the absence of current humanitarian support.[iii]

Yemen is also experiencing the fastest growing cholera epidemic ever recorded (UNOCHA). Since the end of April until 19 November 2017, there were 945,000 suspected cholera cases with over 2,200 associated deaths[iv]. More than half of the suspected cases are children.

Following the death of Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh by the rebel Houthi group, the Saudi-led coalition intensified air strikes on 6 December, plunging the country into further turmoil.

The DEC Yemen Crisis Appeal 

  • The Yemen Crisis Appeal was launched on 13 December 2016 and has, to date, raised £27 million.
  • Between December 2016 and June 2017 (the first six months of the response) DEC member charities provided humanitarian assistance to 1.4 million people with DEC funds.
  • More than 1 million people have received clean water, sanitation services or hygiene kits to reduce the risk of disease – of which 750,000 will continue to have access to clean water through rehabilitated water pipes. 
  • More than 154,450 people have received medical consultation, treatment or health training, of which 34,331 people have been treated for communicable diseases or conflict-related injuries – 22,609 of them children.
  • More than 112,000 people have received bread or food parcels, and vouchers to purchase food.
  • Another 56,000 people have received cash or vouchers to help them buy essential supplies.
  • More than 48,000 children have been screened and treated for malnutrition.
  • Between July 2017 and end 2018, DEC member charities will continue to work to reach those most in need, either through direct operations or supporting the work of in-country partners depending on how the situation in the country evolves. They aim to reach 12,200 people with food parcels, screen 32,000 children for malnutrition, provide 38,000 cholera kits, 18,000 hygiene kits and other lifesaving and humanitarian support.


Notes to editors:

  1. Media enquiries: please call the DEC press office on 0207 255 9111 or 07930 999 014
  2. Spokespeople available for interview are:
    • Saleh Saeed, DEC Chief Executive, has seen first-hand the aid response in both Yemen and East Africa. 
    • Nicola Peckett, Director of Communications has just returned from the camps in Bangladesh, now home to 620,000 people who have fled Myanmar since 25 August 2017.
  3. Film footage and stills are available to illustrate all three emergencies and the aid response in operation.
  4. The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
  5. The UK Government has supported all three appeals through UK Aid Match, by matching pound for pound money donated by the British public; £5million for the DEC’s Yemen Crisis Appeal, £10 million to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal and £5 million to the DEC’s Emergency Appeal for people fleeing Myanmar.
  6. Further Information on the situation in East Africa

Ongoing drought in southern and easternEthiopia, have been exacerbated by outbreaks of disease, the mass movement of people in search of food and water and the loss of livelihoods[v].  The World Food Programme estimates that more than 10 million people need emergency food assistance and 3.6 million malnourished children, pregnant and lactating women need supplementary feeding[vi].In Kenya, 3.4 million people are going hungry. The areas of Kenya that are experiencing the worst effects of drought also face entrenched poverty and intermittent conflict. 369,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition and need urgent treatment.[vii]Somalia has been plagued by conflict for two decades and is now experiencing the worst drought in living memory. Almost 1 million people have left their homes in search of food, water and employment. 6.2 million people need humanitarian assistance. Malnutrition continues to escalate, with some 1.2 million children[viii] projected to be malnourished over the next year. Renewed conflict in South Sudan has deepened the humanitarian crisis, disrupting agricultural production and crippling the economy; nearly 4 million people are currently displaced. Women and children are the most vulnerable, facing risks of violence, hunger and life-threatening disease. 4.8 million[ix] are severely food insecure.


[i] ISCG Situation Update: Rohingya Refugee Crisis 5 December 2017




[v] OCHA, Key Messages: Ethiopia Humanitarian Context, September 2017

[vi] WPF, Ethiopia Emergency Response, Ethiopia Situation Overview, September 2017