Haiti

DEC: Emergency aid arriving in Haiti

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Emergency aid is beginning to get through to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, said the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) today, with more to come tomorrow and the next few days.

Tools to help with search and rescue, blankets, hygiene kits and tarpaulins to shelter people are among the emergency items already delivered by DEC member agencies. Water, sanitation, health and shelter equipment will also be flown in from the UK tomorrow. A 300-bed field hospital is due for delivery later today, along with 3,000 body bags and chlorine for water treatment.

DEC member agency teams were responding to the crisis within hours of the earthquake, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives and devastated swathes of the capital of Port-au-Prince. Assessments on the ground to identify urgent needs and co-ordinate responses are taking place with preparations for more aid to be delivered to the poorest country in the western hemisphere ongoing.

DEC Chief Executive Brendan Gormley, said:

"Aid workers on the ground have worked in tremendously difficult conditions with sporadic communications and goods bottle-necking in the capital's battered airport. However, aid is arriving at the airport and from across the border with the Dominican Republic - and we can expect more and more to arrive over the next few days.

"The humanitarian response required is enormous with the true scale of the horror still unknown. The UK public can help us meet this desperate need by donating to our appeal so that we can ensure life-saving aid continues to reach where it is needed."

The DEC launched its Haiti appeal two days ago after the earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale struck the country. Many DEC members already had a presence in Haiti before the earthquake so have the experience, local knowledge and links with local partners and community groups to ensure that emergency assistance can be delivered, despite the scale of the catastrophe.

Examples of what donations will go to include:

=A325 will supply a kit of household essentials.

=A350 buys a food pack to feed a family for a fortnight.

=A3100 provides temporary shelter for two families.

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.

Notes to editors:

=B7 To make a postal donation make cheques payable to 'DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal' and mail to 'PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA'.

=B7 Donations can be made at any high street bank, or at a Post Office by quoting Freepay 1449.

=B7 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.

=B7 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 reasonable grounds for concluding that a public appeal would be successful, either because of evidence of existing public sympathy for the humanitarian situation or because there is a compelling case indicating the likelihood of significant public support should an appeal be launched.

Please donate to the DEC Haiti Earthquake online at www.dec.org.uk

Over 2.2 million people live in the most affected areas where thousands are feared dead, many more injured, many buried under rubble; the DEC urgently needs your support to help the many people affected.

The DEC launches and co-ordinates national fundraising appeals for public donations on behalf of its member agencies.