Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Britons Give [Pounds Sterling]10m of Aid in 12 Hours; TSUNAMI DISASTER HUGE RESPONSE FROM PUBLIC MATCHES GOVERNMENT CASH AS SURVIVORS FACE NEW THREATS OF DISEASE AND STARVATION

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Britons Give [Pounds Sterling]10m of Aid in 12 Hours; TSUNAMI DISASTER HUGE RESPONSE FROM PUBLIC MATCHES GOVERNMENT CASH AS SURVIVORS FACE NEW THREATS OF DISEASE AND STARVATION

Article excerpt

Byline: VALENTINE LOW;LECH MINTOWT-CZYZ

THE British public has raised an unprecedented [pounds sterling]10 million in just 12 hours for the Asian disaster fund.

The massive sum poured in after the first televised appeal for the combined emergency committee - taking the total now pledged to [pounds sterling]15 million since the fund opened on Monday.

It matches the [pounds sterling]15 million given by the British Government and was described today as "humbling" by the boss of the appeal.

Aid agencies have warned they need an immediate [pounds sterling]1 billion to stop millions dying in the next crucial five to 10 days.

Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, said more than 400,000 people donated and added: "The British people have been listening to our appeals and, after what I hope was a happy Christmas, have realised they can do something and are digging deep.

"It must go on. The big challenge to all of us is not to turn away, because we've got to rebuild those homes and those shattered livelihoods. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon - and we need people not to turn away."

The sum raised so far compares with the [pounds sterling]17 million raised in the course of the BBC's Children in Need appeal in November, the Sport Relief charity day in August which raised [pounds sterling]16.5 million, and the Sudan emergency appeal which took [pounds sterling]34 million in the course of the year.

Emotional scenes of children clinging to life in the aftermath of the tidal wave have prompted the massive scale of donations, with charities reporting British children sending their Christmas money to the fund.

Individual charities have swung into action to take desperately needed assistance to the countries hit by Sunday's earthquake off Sumatra, Indonesia.

The Federation of Tour Operators, which has been arranging flights of empty planes to the region to bring back stranded holidaymakers, has started organising transport of aid on outward flights.

While the drive to provide emergency relief to those affected continued, charities warned that the aid effort must go beyond dealing with the initial crisis.

Mr Gormley pledged the DEC would spend less than a penny of each pound donated on administration, passing on the vast bulk to frontline efforts. "We have never needed more than 2 per cent to run the whole appeal and I can guarantee for this one it will be under 1 per cent," he said.

"Nothing is taken off the top. It is going out for local purchases to get the logistics into place. Cash is the best humanitarian tool, because money pledged today can be at work tomorrow." With the authorities now faced with the first reports of disease spreading, the focus is on providing water supplies, sanitation and food.

Unicef says that more than a million children need immediate help in Indonesia alone. …

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