The Disasters Emergency Committee has launched a coronavirus appeal to raise funds to help those vulnerable communities both fleeing from conflict and instability and facing Covid-19.
The DEC appeal aims to protect people from the virus in the world’s most fragile states: Yemen and Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Afghanistan, plus the world’s largest refugee camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
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 UK-wide appeal is being driven by the urgent humanitarian need but also by “good sense”, said Alexander Matheou, British Red Cross Executive Director of International at the launch:
“We’re not safe until we’re all safe. The world is interconnected. We need to help each other in this time of need.”
He also spoke of how a triple “hit” was creating the biggest humanitarian crises in the world today: pre-existing vulnerability exacerbated by the pandemic; the health impact of the virus itself; and new crises being caused by the secondary economic and social impact of the pandemic.
“People who were already food insecure now face a major hunger crisis. People who were already poor have lost the little income they had. People who were dependent on aid are no longer getting that aid. People who were already at risk of domestic violence are now locked down with the people who threatened them.”
The launch was attended by panellists from some of the DEC’s 14 member charities, including Action Against Hunger, ActionAid and Oxfam.
The 14 DEC member charities are already present and working in refugee and displacement camps, but need more funds to scale up their operations.
The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky are broadcasting appeals in support of DEC’s fundraising, and 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.
Millions of lives are at stake as Covid-19 hits refugee camps and war-torn countries. Help families who have already lost so much face a deadly new threat. Please donate to @decappeal now: https://t.co/lNZ1zOHpKL pic.twitter.com/bttfP8qdPb
— Annie Lennox (@AnnieLennox) July 14, 2020
Image credit: Rohingya refugee camp. Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Fabeha Monir/Oxfam