Disasters Emergency Committee: response to the 28th March earthquake

News and Press Release
Originally published
The Disasters Emergency Committee today confirmed that money raised through its tsunami earthquake appeal is available for disaster relief following the massive earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra on 28 March.

"Thanks to the amazing generosity of the British public, almost all of the DEC member agencies are already on the ground in Indonesia. This will ensure that the response is quick and effective," said Brendan Gormley, Chief Executive of the DEC.

"This earthquake complicates an already complicated situation, but by spending the appeal fund wisely and well our agencies will be able to make a life-saving difference to local people."

As a result of the DEC appeal, for example, an Oxfam team was yesterday able to travel by its own helicopter to Nias island, one of the worst affected areas.

"The impressive speed with which Oxfam reached the heart of the disaster demonstrated that the British people should be very proud of the tsunami appeal fund that they created," said Brendan Gormley.

Oxfam hopes to have provided emergency materials, including water tanks, chlorine for water purification and essential items including cooking utensils and food to the worst affected areas of Nias by today.

Christian Aid, meanwhile, is responding via the Action by Churches Together network. Its partners are providing food, water, emergency medical services and tents to people in the affected area.

Other DEC agencies including World Vision, Merlin and CAFOD are also responding.

The tsunami and the latest earthquake demonstrated that the poorest people suffer most when natural disasters strike. There is urgent need for a fundamental shift in the way the world responds to such disasters. Long-term vision, joined-up planning and political commitment are required in order to both address poverty and to strengthen communities' ability to respond.