Disasters Emergency Committee illustrates impact of relief effort

By agency reporter
January 19, 2010

Contributions to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Haiti Earthquake Appeal have increased to £23 million so far, as the public responds with continuing generosity to the desperate need of Haiti's earthquake survivors.

In the face of press reports about the continuing difficulties facing relief efforts, the DEC is keen to ensure that people realise their money is indeed beginning to make a big difference - and that more is needed.

Since Sunday 17 January 2010, Oxfam have installed four water tanks capable of holding 10,000 litres of water each, including one at Delmas 42 - a former golf course, now home to about 15,000 displaced people which surges to 50,000 at night, and at a hospital in Carrefour, one of the worst hit areas. A plane will depart from East Midlands airport today with 30 tonnes of water and sanitation equipment and plastic sheeting for temporary shelter

Another DEC member, CARE, has distributed water in the suburb of Petionville on Sunday, and had given out eight-days supply of water purification tablets for 5000 people in Port au Prince by Saturday evening.

Merlin's medical team arrived in Haiti on Sunday (17 Jan) and will shortly be joined by a surgical team of 12, including a plastic surgeon focusing on saving limbs, an anaesthetist and nurses, plus 5,000kg of surgical equipment including emergency surgery tents.

Meanwhile, Help Age International have a mobile medical unit which was due to arrive in Haiti yesterday.

Brendan Gormley, the Chief Executive of the Disaster Emergency Committee commented: "The response from the public has been absolutely overwhelming. It does show that whatever financial concerns people are experiencing here in the UK, they feel a deep level of empathy for the people of Haiti, and will give whatever they can."

He continued: "Our partner agencies have been distributing aid and installing vital equipment, such as water bladders and medical facilities. We know that people are being reached, but there is a huge challenge ahead, and much more work to be done. The area affected by this earthquake is huge, and devastation wrought upon the infrastructure of Haiti means agencies face many obstacles. However our members are working round the clock to both meet urgent needs and plan for longer-term reconstruction, thanks to the continued generosity of the British public"

DEC's 13 member agencies in Haiti are closely monitoring the security situation but are not to date reporting that the isolated incidents seen so far are interfering with the arrival and distribution of aid.

Web and phone donations to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal have had reached £23 million yesterday and may reach £30 million today.

The massive response shows the UK public understand that member agencies need their support as they overcome communications and logistical problems to help people desperately needing assistance, says DEC. The amount includes online and phone donations only, with amounts from corporate, postal, events, SMS and over-the-counter donations still to be counted.

To make a donation to the DEC Haiti Earthquake 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'.

Anyone 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 become a "fan" of 'Disasters-Emergency-Committee-DEC' on Facebook.

DEC: http://www.dec.org.uk/

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