The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal for desperate Afghan families facing extreme hunger this winter has raised £9.5 million in its first 24 hours. With donations still coming in, high profile supporters including Gillian Anderson have called on the public to act quickly so that urgent humanitarian aid can reach those who need it most.
Afghanistan is heading for catastrophe this winter. More than eight million people are on the brink of famine. Children are dying today, and a million more under the age of five are at risk of dying over the next three months.
Urgent appeals to fund life-saving food, clean water and shelter were broadcast on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky yesterday, presented by actor Gillian Anderson and presenter JJ Chalmers, with actor Lenora Crichlow voicing radio appeals on commercial stations nationwide.
Gillian Anderson said: “Currently, women and girls in Afghanistan are going through pregnancy and labour in unimaginable conditions without a home or enough food to eat, and with the healthcare system falling apart. Hospitals are having to close due to a lack of supplies and medics. Newborn babies are already dying from malnutrition. DEC member charities are working on the ground in Afghanistan to help. Please donate what you can to give lifesaving help this winter.”
The money raised will help DEC charities and their local partners to provide emergency food and nutrition support for children, support healthcare facilities and provide winter
The UK Government announced it will match pound-for-pound the first £10 million donated by the public to this appeal, to make donations go even further and help DEC charities reach more people in need.
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “We are extremely grateful for the huge generosity of everyone in the UK who has donated. We also thank the UK Government who will match pound for pound the first £10 million donated by the British people, as well as our broadcast partners for having aired the appeal, reaching millions of viewers and listeners.
“The situation in Afghanistan is beyond horrific – we can’t just sit back and watch. If we don’t act now, many lives could be lost as the harsh winter sets in, with children amongst those most vulnerable. DEC charities are already on the ground, scaling up their operations to reach the people most in need. We urge people to continue donating.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “The British people have shown incredible generosity and the UK is determined to do all we can for the people of Afghanistan. We have doubled our aid this year to save lives, protect women and girls and support stability in the region.”
To make a donation to the DEC Afghanistan Crisis Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610 or send a cheque. To donate £10 text SUPPORT to 70150. Texts cost £10 plus your standard network rate and the whole £10 goes to the DEC AFGHANISTAN CRISIS APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer’s permission. For full terms and conditions and more information go to www.dec.org.uk