Haiti - DEC: Appeal total hits £23million, water and medical aid increasing

Urgently needed water supplies and medical expertise are increasingly reaching the people of Port au Prince. The DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal total has increased to =A323million counted so far as the public responds to desperate need of Haiti's survivors.

Since yesterday's update, the DEC has confirmed:

- Since Sunday, Oxfam had installed four water tanks capable of holding 10,000 litres of water each, including one at Delmas 42 - a former golf course now home to about 15,000 displaced people which surges to 50,000 at night, and at a hospital in Carrefour, one of the worst hit areas. A plane will depart East Midlands airport tomorrow [19/1/10] with 30 tonnes of water and sanitation equipment and plastic sheeting for temporary shelter

- CARE have distributed water in the suburb of Petionville on Sunday, and had given out eight-days supply of water purification tablets for 5000 people in Port au Prince by Saturday evening.

- Merlin's medical team arrived in Haiti Sunday and will shortly be joined by a surgical team of 12, including a plastic surgeon focussing on limb salvaging, an anaesthetist and nurses, plus 5,000kg of surgical equipment including emergency surgery tents

- Help Age International have a mobile medical unit due to arrive in Haiti today

Disaster Emergency Committee Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:

"The response from the public has been absolutely overwhelming. It does show that whatever financial concerns people are experiencing here in the UK, they feel a deep level of empathy for the people of Haiti, and will give whatever they can."

"Our partner agencies have been distributing aid and installing vital equipment, such as water bladders and medical facilities. We know that people are being reached, but there is a huge challenge ahead, and much more work to be done. The area affected by this earthquake is huge, and devastation wrecked upon the infrastructure of Haiti means agencies face many obstacles. However our members are working round the clock to both meet urgent needs and plan for longer-term reconstruction, thanks to the continued generosity of the British public"

Our 13 member agencies in Haiti are closely monitoring the security situation but are not to date reporting that the isolated incidents seen so far are interfering with the arrival and distribution of aid.

Web and phone donations to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal have now reached =A323m. The massive response shows the UK public understand that member agencies need their support as they overcome communications and logistical problems to help people desperately needing assistance. The amount includes online and phone donations only, with amounts from corporate, postal, events, SMS and over-the-counter donations still to be counted.

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:

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

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

- Text "GIVE" to 70077 to give =A35 to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal. =A35 goes to the DEC. You pay =A35 plus the standard network SMS rate.

- 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.

- 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.

- The DEC is very grateful for the technical advice and strategic communications support provided by BT to help us respond immediately to international disasters like the recent earthquake in Haiti. We also welcome the fact that BT are encouraging the public and their own customers to support the appeal.

Media Contacts: 020 7387 0200 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours)

Donations can be made at www.dec.org.uk or 0370 60 60 900