The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has announced details of the radio and television broadcasts to run today (5 August) appealing for donations to help those affected by the worst floods to hit Pakistan in 80 years.
DEC brings together a range of major secular and faith-based development organisations in Britain - namely ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, CARE International UK, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Concern, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.
The actor Art Malik will present the appeal for ITV and broadcaster John McCarthy will front the BBC appeal.
People across Pakistan are struggling to cope with floods that have so far killed at least 1,400 and affected about three million people. The full extent of the suffering remains unclear.
Art Malik declared: "This is such an awful tragedy and my thoughts go out to the millions of people affected. Please give generously to the DEC at www.dec.org.uk so that aid agencies can provide the much needed essentials to help the people of Pakistan get back on their feet. "
The monsoon floods intensified on this past weekend, hitting the north- western province of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa the hardest. Millions have lost homes or livelihoods. Waters have washed away thousands of acres of crops, government buildings, businesses, schools, bridges and railway tracks.
With incessant rain, rising water levels now threaten regions further downstream and there are serious concerns regarding the vulnerability of one Pakistan’s largest dams at Warsak near Peshawar.
Disasters Emergency Committee Chief Executive Brendan Gormley commented: “These floods have destroyed the lives of thousands of families, washing away entire villages and leaving millions of survivors suffering with little food or shelter. With more heavy rain predicted, it is clear the situation is at tipping point and the speed of our response is vital."
He added: “DEC member agencies and their partners are responding but with roads and bridges damaged the challenges we face are considerable. We urgently need the public’s help to save more lives.”
Members of the DEC are grappling with serious logistical difficulties to bring aid into the affected areas but significant aid has already been delivered:
· ActionAid has helped over 23,000 people in the worst hit areas providing aid including rice, oil and plastic sheeting. Twelve medical camps have also been set up.
· CARE International sent a convoy of eleven trucks to the Swat district of Pakistan yesterday (Tuesday) with tents, shawls and other emergency supplies for around 1,800 people.
· World Vision have distributed relief supplies, such as food and water, to more than 7,000 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa district.
· The International Committee of the Red Cross has provided food parcels for over 20,000 individuals in Balochistan and southern Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which were distributed by the Pakistan Red Crescent Society.
Controlling infectious diseases including diarrhoea in the coming days will be a major challenge. Worryingly, reports have already emerged of cholera cases in the Swat Valley.
To make a donation to the DEC Pakistan appeal call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, visit http://www.dec.org.uk or donate over the counter at any post office or high street bank, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word GIVE to 70707