The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is launching an appeal in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. In over 50 years of co-ordinating appeals in response to disasters, this is the first time that the DEC has launched an appeal in response to a disease outbreak.
All main UK broadcasters will transmit charitable appeals on Thursday, but donations can already be made via the DEC website and its 24 hour donation hotline 0370 60 60 900.
Why appeal in response to Ebola and not measles?
The DEC explains its unprecedented appeal in terms of Ebola’s impact, not least because other diseases such as malaria kill many more people: it is no longer simply a medical emergency but also one that brings with it the risk of a humanitarian catastrophe. The disease is not only killing people but devastating health services, communities and people’s ability to support themselves.
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”We have never run an appeal in response to a disease outbreak – until today”.[/quote]
Eleven of the 13 DEC member agencies are already responding or planning to respond to the Ebola crisis, mostly focusing on stopping the spread of the disease and providing support to those affected. Actions include:
- Disposing of the bodies of the dead to prevent the spread of infection
- Tracing people who have been in contact with the infected so they can be treated if they have Ebola or go into quarantine until they are no longer at risk
- Providing food aid to affected families
- Running some treatment centres
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said:
“In its 50 year history the DEC has launched appeals for humanitarian disasters caused by floods, famines, earthquake, typhoons, and countless conflicts. We have never run an appeal in response to a disease outbreak – until today.
“While many chronic diseases cause untold suffering in poorer countries, the worst acute outbreaks of deadly diseases such as measles or cholera have usually occurred in the wake of another type of disaster. In West Africa today we are seeing a disease create not just a medical crisis but a humanitarian emergency. Without urgent action to stop the spread of Ebola and to help those affected by the crisis, parts of West Africa face catastrophe within 60 days.”
The appeal will also be supported by other major DEC partners including ITN, BT, Post Office, British Bankers Association, Royal Mail, RadioCentre and NewsNow.
Update 31 October 2014
The TV appeals were broadcast last night on BBC One and ITV:
The first announcement of income was made today:
— DEC (@decappeal) October 31, 2014
In case you’re wondering, the DEC does not generally compare results for campaigns because they are often very different.
But if you’re interested, the equivalent ‘next day’ figures for the most recent DEC appeals were:
* Gaza Crisis Appeal £4.5m
* Philippines Typhoon Appeal £13m.
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