DEC raises concerns regarding the tone of the debate over Gaza

News and Press Release
Originally published

The Disasters Emergency Committee is warning that with debate about the Gaza crisis sometimes falling into anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, the undoubted need to provide help to hundreds of thousands of people in desperate need could be reduced to a political football.

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “The DEC’s launch of a public appeal in response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has been wrongly interpreted in some quarters as a political statement. It is nothing of the sort. Giving aid is not taking sides.

Decisions about where to provide humanitarian relief are always made on the basis of unmet need. When deciding to launch a public appeal the DEC must also consider whether our member organizations can safely and effectively reach those in need, and whether we have good reason to believe the public will support an effective response to the suffering.

“The DEC’s Gaza Crisis Appeal clearly meets all our criteria. The humanitarian need in Gaza is overwhelming. Despite the obvious risks and logistical hurdles, our members and their partners are reaching hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza with aid. There are those who feel complex emergencies are best left well alone but many others recognise that for a family which has lost its home their need is as great whether the cause is an earthquake or a war.

While there is understandable and passionate disagreement about this conflict, the DEC wishes to affirm that there can be no excuse for anti-Semitism or Islamophobia. Although we have been saddened by the tone of some contributions to the public debate, the extraordinary generosity of the UK public in response to our Gaza appeal has provided a moving counterpoint.”

In less than a week since the launch of the Gaza Crisis Appeal, the DEC has managed to raise over £8m as public support continues to pour in.

Aid delivered since the current series of ceasefires began includes:

  • ActionAid is helping 3,570 displaced people in Gaza City with supermarket vouchers so they can buy food and essential items like medicine and clothing. They are also providing funding for generator fuel to provide electricity and power water pumps in shelters.

  • British Red Cross have been distributing house items including mattresses, blankets, hygiene kits and nappies to 47,574 people across Gaza City, Khan Younis, Deir el Balah and Rafah.

  • Christian Aid and its partners have provided 100,000 people with clean water at 100 distribution points. They have distributed food and household items to 8,640 people including canned tomatoes, oil, rice, lentils, beans, sugar, salt, milk for children, sanitary pads and nappies.

  • CARE International has doubled its number of mobile health teams enabling it to provide over 300 people a day with essential medical support. It is also distributing dignity kits to 2000 households, which include baby diapers, sanitary pads, soap, shampoo, towels, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush, children powder, wipes, toilet paper, disinfestation solution, and laundry detergent, cotton, alcohol gel, and toilet paper.

  • CAFOD partners have so far reached 10,400 people through their activities on water, sanitation and hygiene. Household kits, including cooking sets, solar lanterns, and gas stove and gas cylinder have also been distributed to 6,643 people.

The DEC launched its Gaza Crisis Appeal on Friday with support from all major UK broadcasters. The appeal has been boosted by substantial support from the Department for International Development, which matched the first £2m donated by the public pound-for-pound.

What your money will buy:

  • £25 can buy 150 bandages · £50 can feed five families for a day · £100 can provide an emergency shelter kit and blankets for one family

Stay up to date with developments in Gaza, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: http://twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via http://www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee

Notes to editors:

  • The next funding update will be published at approximately midday on Friday 15th August.

  • The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.

  • 11 DEC agencies are currently supporting work or planning to work inside Gaza. Many DEC agencies are working through carefully vetted and monitored partner agencies.

  • To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’.

  • Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters.

  • To donate £5 by text send the word SUPPORT to 70000. The full £5 will go to the DEC Gaza Crisis Appeal. Donors must be 16 years or over and have bill payer’s permission. Texts are free and donations will be added to the bill. (Customer service number 0844 800 4884.)