What is the DEC?
Find our more about the work of the Disasters Emergency Committee, and where the British Red Cross is involved
When a major emergency occurs overseas, the Disasters Emergency Committee brings together 14 UK charities – the British Red Cross included – to raise funds for an effective, coordinated response.
Founded in 1963, its first appeal responded to the August 1966 earthquake in Varto, eastern Turkey. Since then, the committee has run 72 appeals and raised more than £1.5 billion, saving millions of lives and helping rebuild communities devastated by disasters.
The other charities on the committee are Action Against Hunger, ActionAid, Age International, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, Care, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.
When you donate to a DEC appeal, the money goes on to each of the 14 member charities, who then deliver aid through their own operations in each affected area.
In the most recent appeal, the emergency was widespread: millions of lives at risk as the coronavirus pandemic reaches refugee camps and conflict-hit countries like Yemen and Syria. People living in these places already face crises such as malnutrition and diseases like cholera and dengue fever every single day, and the virus has the potential to be even more deadly than it has been in places like Europe so far.
With insufficient healthcare facilities and a lack of adequate sanitation, the virus can go unchecked and is likely to have a higher mortality rate than elsewhere – in Yemen, it is already believed to be as high as 25 per cent, compared with six per cent globally.
With that in mind, the DEC identified seven priorities: Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and people living in the largest refugee camp in the world in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
We, along with the other 13 member charities are working to provide families with clean water and soap, and to provide frontline medical workers with the appropriate equipment to protect themselves and help others in the fight against the virus.
The pandemic is wreaking havoc on countries with even the most advanced healthcare systems and stable economies. But in vulnerable areas the impact of the virus could be catastrophic. As lockdown eases at home in the UK, let’s not forget those for whom the threat is increasing with every passing day.
Global Coronavirus Appeal
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