Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Central America tops £12 million

News and Press Release
Originally published
The nationwide appeal for the victims of Hurricane Mitch has now reached over =A312 million, it was announced today.
The appeal, launched on behalf of eleven leading British agencies by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), marks the British public response to Hurricane Mitch, which left a trail of destruction across Central America and claimed the lives of over 11,000 people.

Money raised in the UK has enabled aid agencies to provide, shelter, food, water and first aid for rapid emergency relief for the thousands who lost their homes and livelihoods. Now the floodwaters have now receded, aid organisations are helping people to re-build their lives and their communities.

Chairman of the DEC, Sir Paul Fox, said: 'Funds from the DEC will help people re-build their communities, their houses, their farms and their roads and to stimulate reconstruction programmes that will also generate badly-needed income.'

CAFOD, one of the agencies taking part in the appeal, is now conducting an agricultural survey to identify regions which can be made fit for replanting. CAFOD partner Sally O'Neill said: 'The hurricane hit at the worst possible time, when the crops were ready for harvesting. It is crucial that replanting takes place as soon as possible so that people do not have to depend on outside food aid for next year'.

Will Day, UK Director for CARE International said: 'We are now in a transitional phase in this disaster, moving from responding to people's immediate needs to looking at long-term reconstruction. Our membership of the DEC enables agencies like CARE International to respond quickly and give the right kind of help where it is needed most.'

Note to Editors

The Disasters Emergency Committee represents 15 agencies including the 11 in this Appeal: Actionaid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Christian Children's Fund, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, TearFund and World Vision. During major emergencies DEC agencies unite for a joint fundraising campaign conducted in partnership with the British media.

For more information contact:

Jamie McCaul, Executive Secretary at the DEC on 0171 580 6550, fax 0171 580 2854 or, at CARE International UK. Antony Robbins on 0171 379 5247 or fax 0171 379 0543.