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dec disasters emergency committee

DEC launches Coronavirus Appeal to help people in world’s most fragile states fight triple threat posed by pandemic

Christian charities/Cafod/Islamic Relief along with fellow members of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) on Tuesday (14th) launched a Coronavirus Appeal to raise funds to help the most vulnerable communities in the world fleeing from conflict and instability who now face the new deadly threat of Covid-19.

The DEC Appeal aims to protect people from the virus in the world’s five most fragile states, plus Afghanistan, the most fragile state in Asia, and the world’s largest refugee camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

The UK-wide appeal is being driven by urgent humanitarian need – but also by “good sense”, Alexander Matheou, British Red Cross, Executive Director of International told journalists at the appeal’s press launch on Tuesday.

“We’re not safe until we’re all safe,”

he said.

“The world is interconnected. We need to help each other in this time of need.”

Saleh Saeed, DEC Chief Executive, said that countries such as Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and South Sudan have been weakened by years of war and instability and now face a “new, deadly, silent threat”.

In Yemen – where 50% of health services have been destroyed – the World Health Organization says 1 in 4 people who are contracting Covid-19 are dying.

He added:

“Here in the UK, we’ve witnessed great suffering and made unprecedented sacrifices to protect each other and save lives. We have seen too the tireless dedication of staff in our amazing NHS.

“But, imagine living in one of the world’s most fragile states – where there is no NHS – and no other safety nets for the very poorest and most vulnerable.

“Families who have been forced to flee conflict, drought and floods – living in crowded refugee and displacement camps – with little access to clean water, medical care or enough food – now face a new, deadly and silent threat: Covid-19.”

It is the first time that the DEC has launched an appeal for a disaster that has simultaneously affected both the UK and internationally. The DEC, which appeals for funds in response to overseas humanitarian crises, will help the most vulnerable people in six fragile states: Yemen and Syria; Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Afghanistan, where a total of 24 million displaced people live in crowded temporary shelter.

The appeal also includes the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, which are one and a half times the population density of New York City – but with nothing like the equivalent health facilities or sanitation.

Tufail Hussain, Director of Islamic Relief UK, said:

“We have tragically seen more than 40,000 deaths from coronavirus in the UK, including a significant number of people from the British Muslim and wider BAME communities. Many in this country are hurting, having experienced unforeseen suffering over the past few months.

“The Qu’ran says, ‘He who saves a life, it is as if he has saved all mankind.’ We have recently been reminded of this truth more than ever as we have pulled together and stayed at home to support the NHS and save lives. The saying also applies to people overseas, in places like crowded refugee camps and conflict zones where this deadly threat is even greater. If you donate to help one person in a crowded refugee camp stay clean and healthy, everyone around them has a better chance too.

“Coronavirus respects no borders, and neither should our generosity. As a member charity of the DEC, Islamic Relief’s dedicated staff have ramped up our existing humanitarian work with refugees and others who are suffering in some of the world’s most fragile places such as Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.

“If you can, please donate to the DEC to support the work of Islamic Relief and other charities on the frontline of this crisis – in places where the virus is likely to be even more deadly than it has been here.”

The 14 DEC member charities are already present and working in refugee and displacement camps, despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic. But they urgently need more funds to scale up their operations and save lives.

The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky will be broadcasting appeals in support of DEC fundraising.

Every pound donated by the UK public will be matched by the UK government through its Aid Match scheme up to the value of £5 million. This support will double the impact of the public’s own donations and will ensure that charities working on the ground can reach more of the world’s most vulnerable people as they face the coronavirus pandemic.

To make a donation to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal visit  call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, or send a cheque. To donate £10 text SUPPORT to 70150. Texts cost £10 and the whole £10 goes to the DEC CORONAVIRUS APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer’s permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to

Stay up to date with developments on Twitter: or on Facebook via

Notes to editors

For more information or to request interviews please contact: Sarah Sansom (020 7387 0200) (07930 999 014) or Julia Bush (07833 285 716) [email protected]

To watch a recording of the launch press conference, please visit:

For b-roll footage

For images gallery:

For more spokespeople and detailed briefings, please visit our media centre:

About the DEC: When large-scale disasters hit countries without the capacity to respond, the DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently. In these times of crisis, people in life-and-death situations need our help and our mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response. The DEC’s 14 member charities are: Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.

Through UK Aid Match the Department for International Development gives the British public the opportunity to decide how the UK aid budget is spent and support people in desperate need by matching their donations pound-for-pound up to £5 million. UK Government match funding will go directly to the DEC, doubling the value of the public’s own donations to the DEC appeal up to £5 million and will ensure that DEC member charities working on the ground can reach even more people in need.

UK Aid Match has increased the impact of a number of DEC appeals to help those in need around the world, including most recently to support people affected by Cyclone Idai which hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in March 2019.

UK Aid Match enquiries should be directed to the Department for International Development. Please call 020 7023 0600 (24-hour).

How to donate: 

Phone: 0370 60 60 900 

SMS: Text SUPPORT to 70150 to donate £10.  Texts cost £10 and the whole £10 goes to the DEC CORONAVIRUS APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer’s permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to

Post: Send a cheque to DEC Coronavirus Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA.

Donations will help provide the following:

£30 could provide six displaced families with enough soap for a month

£50 could provide essential hygiene kits to two displaced families

£100 could provide PPE for one frontline health worker for four months.

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