An appeal to help the world’s most vulnerable through the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).
Fourteen charities – including Oxfam, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief and the British Red Cross – will join together to ask the British public to donate.
The UK government will double the first £5m of donations.
Much of the money will go to refugee camps, where overcrowding and poor sanitation allows the virus to spread.
The DEC, which is made up of 14 of Britain’s largest aid charities, will spend donations on providing food, water and medical care to people in countries such as Syria, Yemen and South Sudan.
Other target countries are Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
The DEC estimates there are 24 million internally-displaced people in these countries. A further 850,000 Rohingya people have fled violence to live in Bangladesh’s camps.
Donations will also be spent on providing soap to vulnerable families and on providing information about the dangers of the spread of the disease.
International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Clean water and healthcare in refugee camps are essential in containing coronavirus in the developing world – helping stop the spread of the pandemic and protecting the UK from further waves of infection.”
So far, £769m in UK aid has been pledged globally to fight the pandemic, according to the Department for International Development.
Broadcasters including the BBC will show the DEC fundraising appeals on Tuesday.
DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “For those fleeing violence and conflict in the world’s most fragile places, the pandemic is a new battle that they are not equipped to fight.
“These families have already lived through trauma and upheaval.
“Many are now living in crowded refugee and displacement camps with little access to medical care, clean water or enough food – the bare essentials they need to survive the crisis.
“Millions of lives are at stake. We are urging people to donate now.”
What is the DEC?
- The committee brings together 14 UK charities to provide and deliver aid to ensure successful appeals
- The charities include Oxfam, Save the Children UK, Age International, British Red Cross, Cafod, Christian Aid and Islamic Relief
- Its website provides more details of its coronavirus appeal and its other current appeals