UK disaster donations for Haiti hit £2m after 36 hours

By agency reporter
15 Jan 2010

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) announced today (Friday 15 January 2010) that online donations to the Haiti earthquake appeal had hit £2 million in just 36 hours.

The sums were raised before the first radio and television appeals by the DEC and mark an unprecedented response to DEC online fundraising.

The DEC appeal was made public with a message on Twitter that has spread through social networks and has been helped by high-profile endorsements including one from the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The Queen has also given privately to the DEC appeal.

The Disasters Emergency Committee consists of Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, and World Vision.

DEC Chief Executive Brendan Gormley commented: “We are delighted at the generosity of the British people even before our major television and radio appeals hit the airwaves."

He added: “Efforts on the ground have been hampered by a lack of power and communications problems after the devastating quake, but aid is starting to get through and DEC members are working hard in the field."

“Our message to the public is: thank you for your efforts so far but it is vitally important that people continue to donate to increase the amount of aid that can be delivered to help the millions of people affected by this terrible earthquake,” said Gormley.

The DEC appeal was made public at 7.41pm on 13 January, the day after the earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale levelled large parts of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.

The total raised online by 8am today (Friday) stood at around £2 million. Donations by other methods are not included in this figure.

Many DEC members already had a presence in Haiti before the earthquake struck. The agencies have responded, supporting search and rescue, providing medical care, food, clean water, temporary shelter and clothes but need much more money.

Examples of what donations will go to include:
* £25 supplies a kit of household essentials.
* £50 buys a food pack to feed a family for a fortnight.
* £100 provides temporary shelter for two families.

To make a donation to the DEC Haiti appeal visit www.dec.org.uk or call 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any post office or high street bank, or send a cheque made payable to ‘DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal’ to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.

Those wanting to stay up to date with developments in Haiti, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts can follow the DEC on twitter at http://twitter.com/decappeal or link to ‘Disasters-Emergency-Committee-DEC’ on Facebook.

The DEC criteria for launching an appeal are: The disaster must be on such a scale and of such urgency as to call for swift international humanitarian assistance. The DEC agencies, or some of them, must be in a position to provide effective and swift humanitarian assistance on a scale to justify a national appeal.

There must also be reasonable grounds for concluding that a public appeal would be successful, either because of evidence of existing public sympathy for the humanitarian situation or because there is a compelling case indicating the likelihood of significant public support should an appeal be launched.

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