This year the DEC has launched an extremely important appeal for Syria, and continued its work in three major responses: East Africa, Pakistan and Haiti, each of which was amongst our very largest appeals.
In East Africa, where a lethal combination of drought, conflict and environmental failure caused the first famine of the 21st century, DEC funded work has reached over 2.3m people. The huge humanitarian effort in the region has been broadly successful but the crisis has highlighted serious issues with the world’s ability to respond to very clear early warnings of disaster.
In the three years after Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince was devastated by a massive earthquake in January 2010, the DEC funded work that helped 1.8m people. Haiti was a challenging environment and may be the precursor to further urban disasters which are expected to hit many of the world’s poorer cities in the future. Given the scale of the need we expect most DEC members to continue working in Haiti for many years to come.
The 2012-13 period also saw the final DEC funded work completed in response to the 2010 Pakistan floods, which helped 1.8m people. The member agencies concentrated on water and sanitation projects, rebuilding homes and improving livelihoods. Pakistan is very vulnerable to disasters so we have also helped people plan and prepare for the next crisis, which is sadly almost inevitable.
This year sees the 50th anniversary of the DEC. It began in 1963 as a co-ordinating body for a handful of organisations, only finding its present role as a link between humanitarians, the public and mass media in 1966 when a massive earthquake hit eastern Turkey