Pakistan

Over £30 million is pledged for DEC Asia quake appeal

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More than £30 million has now been pledged to the Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC) Asia Quake Appeal.
DEC chief executive Brendan Gormley says: "People across the UK are leading the way in their generosity on the internet, by the emergency phone lines and through the post. Our agencies need more money to try and prevent a further catastrophe. Winter is closing in and remote villages will be even harder to access in a harsh Himalayan winter -- it's a race against time."

Bill Dowell, information co-ordinator for DEC member CARE International, is currently working on the ground in Pakistan. He adds: "If we wait it will be too late".

The British Red Cross is sending flights every two days, conveying tents made from heavy material to withstand the weather. Each tent contains a chimney and stove. Save the Children is also providing tents, tarpaulins and plastic sheeting to provide vital shelter to the many thousands of people left homeless by the earthquake on 8 October.

Merlin has set up two field hospitals in mountain villages in Kashmir, these will help around 80,000 people withstand the oncoming winter. Both are staffed by medical experts from Pakistan as well as medics from the UK who have taken leave from their jobs in order to help.

CARE International is ensuring better health care for earthquake survivors by setting up half-way houses where people can receive outpatient care. This aims to enable government hospitals to concentrate on the seriously wounded. The centres will also provide counselling and shelter to women and orphans. World Vision is focusing long term on the children of Pakistan.

At least 74,500 people are feared dead and over two million people require life-saving assistance, according to officials.

The 13 DEC member agencies are Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

Donations have been flooding in via the DEC website -- www.dec.org.uk -- via the 24-hour automated donations phone line -- 0870 60 60 900 -- and by cheques to PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA. Donations can also be made at high street banks and post offices or through PayPoint.

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