The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has launched a fundraising appeal to help people living in refugee camps and in the world’s most deprived countries during the coronavirus pandemic.
DEC, a coalition of 14 aid charities including the British Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children, is asking the public to donate to provide water, healthcare supplies and food to people in need.
The UK government will be match-funding the first £5m of the appeal through its UK Aid Match programme.
The appeal will focus on seven areas, considered among the most vulnerable in the world: Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Afghanistan and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. DEC says that there are 24 million internally displaced people in these areas, plus 850,000 Rohingya people living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
All 14 DEC members also launched their own coronavirus appeals earlier this year. ActionAid, for example, is aiming to raise £18m globally and has so far raised more than £1.8m in the UK.
DEC has been fundraising for overseas emergencies since 1963. Its most successful appeal was for the response to the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in South East Asia, which raised £392m. More recently, the Cyclone Idai appeal raised £43m last year, and the Indonesia Tsunami appeal raised £29m in 2018.
‘We rely on the support of the UK public’
Saleh Saeed, chief executive of DEC, said: “The appeal aims to support the world's most fragile states with the threat of the new deadly coronavirus. We rely on the tremendous support and the generosity of the UK public for our appeals.
“We've all witnessed the unprecedented suffering and the sacrifices that many of us up and down the UK have had to make during the coronavirus crisis. We've seen the dedication of the NHS staff and the amazing work the NHS is doing. Never in our 57-year history as DEC have we seen a simultaneous disaster both domestically and internationally.
“We're now launching this appeal to target the most fragile states. Just imagine for a moment having to live in one of those fragile states where there isn't a national health service, little or no medical care, no safety net; having to flee your home, your job, leave everything behind, possibly ending up in overcrowded displacement camp or refugee camp with no running water, and little or no food, and now suddenly having to face this new deadly and silent threat, Covid-19.
“Our appeal is targeting the most vulnerable and those weakened by years of war and instability.”