DEC chief urges public to give to other appeals alongside Ukraine

24 Aug 2022 News

Ukraine Refugee Crisis appeal - World Vision

The chief executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has urged the British public to “give to other appeals generously” alongside the Ukraine campaign. 

Saleh Saeed's comments were in response to a question about the disparity over how much has been raised for DEC’s emergency appeals. Its Ukraine Humanitarian appeal has raised £380m in six months, whilst its Afghanistan appeal has just reached £50m in eight months. 

Saeed said he felt the Ukraine appeal has raised so much money because “the crisis feels so close to home for us” and thanked the generosity of the British public, which has “brought hope” to many people.

This comes as the United Nations has reported that it and its partner agencies have raised only a third of the amount of money it needs to meet global humanitarian need.

He was speaking at an online DEC press conference to mark six months on from the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. 

Approximately 18 million people in Ukraine will need humanitarian aid because of the crisis. 

DEC will be issuing a full six-month report on how the funds raised have been used in due course, Saeed told viewers. 

How are DEC funds being spent?

Saeed shared the impact its thirteen member organisations have been having in the warzone and its neighbouring countries. 

Top areas of expenditure have been providing cash to people who need it, so they can have “freedom and independence” in choosing what to spend it on. 

A considerable amount has also been spent on medicine and food for those affected. 

Olga Shevchenko from Depaul International is on the frontline helping people in Ukraine. She said at the beginning of the conflict, there was a “large level of resistance in Ukrainian people” who did not want to ask for help. Lots of people are still using bomb shelters, she said, which is concerning as winter approaches. 

However, DEC funds have enabled Depaul workers to enter people’s houses so they can properly assess their needs. She has also witnessed more becoming “open to receiving help”.  

Willow Rook, deputy country director from Action Against Hunger, shared that DEC funds have helped one couple that produce hot meals for those affected to increase their capacity. They have gone from being able to make 70 meals a day to over 14,000. 

'If the war were to end tomorrow, it would be years before Ukraine would recover'

Richard Blewitt, director international at the British Red Cross, was also a speaker at the event. He warned of the “imposed health risks imposed by the onset of winter” for people affected by the conflict. 

He said he has witnessed the “devastating ripple effects of needs” caused by the war.

“If the conflict were to end tomorrow, it would be years until the people of Ukraine could recover,” he said. 

Therefore, the Red Cross will be spending DEC funds on the acquisition of warm clothing, clean water and repairing hospitals and health facilities, in lieu of a health crisis that “will last for many years”. 

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.


More on