Sri Lanka + 3 more

DEC reports back on tsunami six months on

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News and Press Release
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Six months on from the Tsunami the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal has reached a record breaking 400 million pounds. This unprecedented level of fundraising has enabled the member agencies to carry out major relief and rehabilitation work throughout the region.
Representatives of the DEC agencies will be giving details of this work at a press conference on Wednesday (June 22nd) following the Annual General Meeting of the Committee.

Within hours of the disaster that shook the world, members of the DEC and their partners were working effectively and efficiently on the ground.

Now - six months later - they have thousands of projects running and are working closely with the people of the region, not just to replace what has been lost but to create a better, safer environment.

DEC Chief Executive, Brendan Gormley, said: "This is a genuine people to people effort. The sheer scale of the public's response in the UK has been amazing but the ordinary people of the region have also done so much to help themselves. I have also been greatly moved by the tenacity and stoicism of the survivors. They are the ones leading the effort, we are playing a supporting role. Only last week I was in Indonesia, it was good to see how much has been done and to see that solid foundations for lasting solutions have been laid. "

DEC members are spending the following during 2005:

£57m in Indonesia. This includes building temporary housing, building safer and more resilient permanent homes, providing healthcare and counselling, operating clinics, providing equipment to get people back to work, (seeds, tools, fishing equipment), paying school fees, repairing school buildings and helping isolated people such as orphans, widows and the elderly.

£44m in Sri Lanka. This includes water and sanitation projects, providing emergency food, educational projects, providing shelter from the approaching monsoon, reconstructing communities, providing kerosene, cleaning wells and sanitary units, giving art and drama therapy, supporting women to find new sources of income and reconstructing roads.

£36m in India. This includes installing water and sanitation facilities to emergency settlements, training health volunteers, distributing hygiene materials, providing furniture, helping older people and their families get back on their feet, starting self help groups, reducing communities' vulnerability to future disasters and training task forces in first aid and evacuation techniques.

The remaining money for 2005 is being spent in the other affected countries, Somalia, Thailand and Maldives. The agencies are spending a total of £152 million in the region in 2005 and forecast they will spend £110 million in 2006. The rest of the money will be distributed to meet the emerging challenges.

The £400 million figure is made up of the money given by the public direct to the DEC, which amounted to £350 million and £50 million which was donated to the appeal and sent to the agencies directly.

Mr Gormley said: "The money will be spent over a minimum period of three years. It is very important that we ensure it is used wisely and well and because of this we may need to be patient."

For up to the minute news about agencies' tsunami projects, log on to www.dec.org.uk and see the DEC's new tsunami micro-site launched this week.

For interviews with agency spokespeople who have just returned from tsunami-damaged countries please contact Beverley Cohen in the DEC press office on 0207 387 0200 or on 07921 655272 (mobile).

Editors Notes

1. The AGM starts at 11am and will be followed by the Tsunami update and press conference at 12 noon. It will take place at the British Bankers Association, Pinners Hall, 105/108 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1EX

2. Broadcast quality video footage and photographs of the members work are also available.

3. The DEC is an umbrella organisation, which represents 13 leading UK aid agencies. Its members are: ActionAid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.