The nation’s faith leaders, including the Anglican Archbishop of York, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and the Muslim Council of Britain, have urged Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths and none to support the DEC’s Emergency Appeal for people fleeing Myanmar.
Across the country, supporters of the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) faith-based charities are answering the call to help the estimated half a million people – mostly women and children from Myanmar – who have arrived in Bangladesh, where they are living in squalid conditions in overflowing, makeshift camps and settlements. These people are exhausted, traumatised and in urgent need of shelter, medical care, water and food.
The faith-based charities CAFOD, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Tearfund and World Vision UK, which are among the 13 leading UK aid charity members of the DEC, are calling on local churches, mosques and faith communities to support its Emergency Appeal for people fleeing Myanmar, which launched on Wednesday 4 October 2017.
The Archbishop of York, the Rt Rev John Sentamu, said:
“Some 500,000 men, women and children in Bangladesh are living in squalid conditions in makeshift camps without access to clean drinking water and food. These people have fled Myanmar over the past few weeks with little more than the clothes on their backs. Thousands of young children are suffering from malnutrition.
“As people of faith, we are called to help those who are poor and in desperate need. Please be generous and support the DEC Emergency Appeal so that the aid agencies on the ground can provide the shelter, sanitation, care and assistance these people need so urgently.”
Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the Department of International Affairs at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, said:
“Our faith calls us to support all those who are facing violence and persecution, and the DEC appeal is a vital way of helping the hundreds of thousands of people who find themselves far from home and sleeping in makeshift shelters with no food, clean water or means of providing for their families. I urge Catholics and all people who care for justice across England and Wales to remember these people fleeing Myanmar in their prayers and to support the DEC appeal.”
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said:
“For the Muslim Council of Britain, the work of the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) coming to the aid of people fleeing Myanmar is of paramount humanitarian importance. There are huge numbers in camps in Bangladesh in need of succour, and much needs to be done to co-ordinate and deliver aid.”
Charity supporters are being asked to fundraise, organise collections and to pray for the hundreds of thousands of people in need of food, shelter, clean water and medical care. The money raised will help all 13 DEC member charities responding to the crisis to reach more people in dire need with food and medical supplies.
Islamic Relief is holding a day of action on Friday 13 October and has invited 500 mosques to take part in raising funds for the DEC Emergency Appeal. Volunteers will also be collecting money for the appeal at underground stations in London. In Bangladesh, Islamic Relief plans to reach more than 37,000 people with emergency assistance over the next two months, and has deployed an emergency team to assess the needs of those affected.
Imran Madden, UK Director of Islamic Relief, said:
“This is a humanitarian catastrophe and the world needs to respond now – before it’s too late. I was in Bangladesh only a few weeks ago and saw with my own eyes the trauma, suffering and pain of the thousands of women, children and men that have made the arduous journey by night, crossing many obstacles in their path.
“They left behind everything they own only to arrive into overflowing, inadequate and squalid conditions in makeshift camps. Here they are in urgent need of food, water and shelter. They need as many people as possible to donate what they can. Please donate today to help ease their suffering.”
To make a donation to the DEC Emergency Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.
The UK Government will match pound for pound the first £3 million donated by the public to the DEC Emergency Appeal.
Stay up to date with developments in Bangladesh, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: www.twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee.
Notes to editors
- Media enquiries please call 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours).
- The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
- Funds raised will go towards humanitarian assistance in Bangladesh. A number of DEC charities are prepared to respond in affected areas of Myanmar if access opens up.
- To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC Emergency Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.
- Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters.
- To donate £5 by text send the word SUPPORT to 70000. The full £5 will go to the DEC Emergency Appeal. Donors must be 16 years or over and have bill payers’ permission. Texts are free and donations will be added to the bill.
Shelter – R300 could provide emergency shelter for one family
Hygiene – R500 could provide ten families with hygiene kits
Food – R1000 could provide two families with food for a month
Water – R50 could provide a family with clean water for a week
- UK Government match funding will go directly to the DEC and provide vital emergency supplies. This new funding will double the impact of the public’s own donations up to £3 million and ensure that charities working on the ground can reach even more people in need.