The Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) is today launching radio and TV appeals for public funds to help those affected by the earthquakes and typhoons which struck last week.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured but millions also live in the areas immediately affected where homes have been destroyed, crops swept away and vital services wiped out.
The DEC says that despite appalling conditions, aid agencies' responses are now well underway in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam but remain seriously under-funded.
Launching the Appeal, Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said: “The nature of these disasters vividly recalls the horrors of [the] 2004 Tsunami. Millions have seen the world they know ripped apart around them.
“DEC member agencies are already responding despite the appalling conditions on the ground but we urgently need the public’s help to fund their work.
“We recognise that these are difficult and uncertain times for many people in the UK too, but we have no doubt that there will still be a strong desire to help.”
DEC members and their partners are already working in the affcected areas. Red Cross volunteers in the Philippines have rescued over 400 people from rooftops and high walls following flooding and have provided hot meals and blankets. Save the Children have also distributed hundreds of emergency kits to affected children in the country which include essentials such as clothes and soap.
In Indonesia, Oxfam is distributing tarpaulins, food and hygiene kits and tanking water into Padang. Hundreds of Indonesia Red Cross volunteers are involved in search and rescue operations, providing first aid, and meeting water and sanitation needs. CARE International has been distributing emergency supplies such as water purification solutions and temporary shelter.
In Vietnam, CARE International has been providing basics such as noodles, rice and bottled water to people who have lost everything. ActionAid is involved in rescue operations and is planning to provide food, safe drinking water, candles, matches, kerosene and mosquito nets.
On 26 September Typhoon Ketsana hit the Philippines and also affected the wider region, including Vietnam on the 29th. An earthquake registering 7.6 on the Richter scale struck western Sumatra on the 30th, followed by a significant aftershock the next day. Typhoon Parma struck a remote area of the Philippines on 3 October, causing further deaths and extensive damage.
Anyone wanting to stay up to date with developments in the affected countries, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts can follow the DEC on twitter at http://twitter.com/decappeal or become a fan of ‘Disasters-Emergency-Committee-DEC’ on Facebook