The Disasters Emergency Committee is extending its Coronavirus Appeal to include India as an additional country that will receive urgent life-saving humanitarian assistance to help the most vulnerable communities.
The decision follows the surge in coronavirus cases and deaths, and the difficulties faced by India’s healthcare system to provide care for all those affected.
DEC member charities, together with their local teams and partners, are already active in India and helping by supporting the country’s health services, assisting efforts to slow the spread of the virus, and providing further help to the most vulnerable households.
DEC Coronavirus Appeal
The fundraising appeal was launched by the 14-member co-ordinating body in July 2020, with the aim of helping the poorest communities in a number of countries including Yemen, Syria and South Sudan tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said:
“We have all seen the devastating images from India showing hospitals overrun and oxygen supplies falling short of demand, with thousands of people unable to receive potentially life-saving treatment. Several cities have imposed lockdowns and curfews, which will have a knock-on effect for people’s livelihoods, with the poorest and most marginalised communities hit hardest.
“DEC member charities have a long history of working with these communities and are supporting overwhelmed health services by providing medical supplies, treatment facilities and logistics assistance. With the generous support of the UK public, we can do even more to help the most vulnerable communities as they face a life-or-death situation.”
The appeal remains open and has raised more than £40 million from the UK public and other donors to help people in places including Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, DRC, Afghanistan and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
This amount includes £10 million of UK Aid Match, where the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office gives the UK 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 £10 million.
Additional appeal funds raised from 28 April 2021 onwards will be mainly spent in India. Some funds may provide urgent humanitarian aid in other appeal countries.
How DEC charities will help
DEC charities will support India’s health system by:
- providing PPE, disinfection kits, medical supplies and ambulances
- setting up isolation facilities, including provision of beds and latrines
- setting up temporary Covid hospitals and Covid care centres
- providing logistical support to quarantine or isolation centres
- providing ventilators and oxygen concentrators to the Indian government
- running helplines to tackle misinformation by providing up-to-date information on the availability of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and Covid vaccines.
They will also expand preventive measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 amongst the most vulnerable communities including:
- setting up handwashing stations and distributing soap, sanitiser and masks
- distributing hygiene kits consisting of washable masks, sanitiser, gloves, face shields, and soap
- supporting vaccination drives and public health messaging on the importance of good hygiene
- disinfecting public places
- training community health volunteers
DEC charities will also provide additional support to the poorest and most vulnerable households by:
- ensuring families get enough food to prevent malnutrition, particularly amongst children, by distributing food and care packs to people in isolation
- providing livelihoods training and cash for work
- providing mental health support as well as community counselling services
- delivering community outreach to older people
- strengthening water and sanitation systems.
Donations to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal can be made online, via the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, or by sending a cheque to DEC Coronavirus Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA. Text donations can also be made.
DEC’s member charities
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.
Main image: A family member looks on as several funeral pyres of patients who died of Covid-19 burn during the mass cremation at Ghazipur cremation ground in New Delhi, India. According to the World Health Organisation, on Tuesday 27 April, 323,144 new Covid cases and 2,771 further deaths had been recorded in the previous 24 hours.
Photo: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images