22 Jan: Aid agencies launch joint appeal to relieve Gaza humanitarian crisis
Leading UK aid agencies are today (Thursday, 22 January) appealing to the public for urgently needed funds to help ease the desperate plight of people affected by the conflict in Gaza.
Launching the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Crisis Appeal, chief executive Brendan Gormley said that the devastation wrought in the Gazan territory was so huge that British aid agencies were compelled to act.
Over 1,300 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, and many thousands have been injured, overwhelming local hospitals. The destruction has left people without homes and many children without schooling; power, food and water supplies are insufficient to cover the population’s needs.
Mr Gormley said: “DEC agencies have a humanitarian mandate. We are not proposing to attempt to rebuild Gaza – that is not our role. But with the public’s support we can help relieve short-term needs. Agencies are already providing food, drugs and blankets as well as delivering clean water.
“But we will soon reach the limit of what we can do, without more money. For Gazans struggling to survive, receiving urgent humanitarian aid will help them take the first step to recovery.”
Mr Gormley stressed that DEC aid agencies were non-political. “We work on the basis of humanitarian need and there is an urgent need in Gaza today. Political solutions are for others to resolve, but what is of major concern to us all is that many innocent people have been affected by the situation – and it is them that we seek to help.”
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The DEC press office can be contacted on 0207 387 0200 or out-of-hours on 07930 999014.
Notes to editors:
1. The DEC 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, World Vision.
2. The Palestinian Ministry of Heath (MOH) has reported 1,314 Palestinian fatalities since 27 December 2008. This is noted in the Situation Report on the Humanitarian Situation in the Gaza Strip – No.14, 19 January 2009 (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).
3. How to donate:
It’s easy to donate. Please visit our website on www.dec.org.uk or call the DEC on 0370 60 60 900. We know people are facing financially difficult times but even a small donation makes a difference. Even a small donation to the appeal will help get food, water, shelter, emergency and medical supplies to people who desperately need it.
4. The DEC criteria to launch 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 at a scale to justify a national Appeal.There must be sufficient public awareness of, and sympathy for, the humanitarian situation so as to give reasonable grounds for concluding that a public Appeal would be successful.
5. For new footage, photographs, case studies and pre-recorded or live interviews with both aid agency staff on the ground and in the UK, please contact the DEC press office on 0207 387 0200 or out-of-hours on 07930 999014.