Today marks the first month of the relief effort in response to the Asian tsunami, which has claimed the lives of over 200,000 people in twelve countries. The Disasters Emergency Committee’s appeal has exceeded £250 million, as money from planned events continues to pour in.
Money pledged by donors is being put to immediate use with the purchase and supply of emergency materials including generators, tarpaulins, blankets and construction materials. The DEC agencies have emergency response teams, specialists and local partners on the ground. People’s basic needs are being met. This ranges from the provision of emergency sanitation and fresh water to supplying everyday items like soap and cooking utensils.
DEC agencies are one part of a complex equation of relief and rehabilitation work. Governments and the UN have key responsibilities in coordinating worldwide response to the crisis and the DEC agencies provide a vital link between them and the survivors. But the unprecedented scale of the emergency continues to pose fresh challenges to those in the disaster zone.
DEC Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:
‘We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the British public and will make the very best use of the funds available to us. Donations are already being put to good use and are making real differences to those at the centre of this disaster. The challenge is complex as short-term emergency relief becomes more focused on longer-term plans to help communities re-build lives and livelihoods from scratch.
Our promise to donors is to remain accountable to them about how we spend their money and to remain open and transparent about the progress we are making, albeit working in some of the most challenging conditions.’