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DEC announces Syria Crisis Appeal

20 March 2013 - The Disasters Emergency Committee has today announced that it will launch an appeal tomorrow for people affected by the conflict in Syria. The announcement follows a dramatic deterioration in the humanitarian situation since the beginning of the year.

The DEC said that the majority of its members were already supporting work inside Syria but most could not talk in any detail about their activities without putting their work and workers at risk.  Despite these efforts huge and urgent unmet needs remain.

The British Red Cross is supporting the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) which is reaching 2m people per month.  SARC is working to meet the needs of vulnerable people all over Syria, including government controlled areas and across front lines.

Other DEC agencies are supporting work that has reached a total of 920,000 people in areas including Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Idlib, Hama and areas across northern Syria. Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Save the Children and CAFOD have all confirmed publicly that they are supporting the delivery of aid inside Syria.

DEC member agencies are also providing help to some of the more than one million refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries.

DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: “By coming together under the banner of the DEC we can reveal a little more about the extent of the aid effort inside Syria.  There is still however much we cannot say about the work of most individual agencies.  We want to be as open as possible but that has to be balanced against ensuring this vital work can continue and keeping those delivering aid safe.

“Despite the efforts of our member agencies and others there are huge and urgent unmet needs, both in Syria and the surrounding countries.  In Syria, the greatest challenge to meeting those needs remains the barriers to delivering aid which are faced by impartial humanitarian agencies such as our members.  The lack of funds are also a critical constraint though - both for work in Syria and the surrounding countries.”

There are now over three million people who have been forced to flee their homes by the fighting in Syria.  One million have fled to neighbouring countries but a further two million are trapped in a country where the health system has collapsed in many areas, water supplies have been disrupted and food is often in short supply. 

The number of refugees fleeing the country has increased from 1,000 a day at the beginning of the year to over 8,000 a day.  The total number in need of assistance in Syria and the surrounding countries is over five million: one million refugees, two million internally displaced and two million still living at home in Syria but requiring assistance.

DEC member agencies are committed to providing support to people from all communities affected by the conflict based on need alone. 

To make a donation to the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal visit http://www.dec.org.uk, call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.

Stay up to date with developments in Syria, 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

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Notes to editors:

• The DEC brings 14 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: Action Aid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.

• The majority of DEC agencies are supporting work inside Syria, principally through partner agencies.  All of our members will support the appeal and 13 are responding in Syria and the region and will benefit from donations made to the DEC.  Concern Worldwide is not responding in the region and will not take any of the proceeds of the appeal.

• 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 Syria Crisis Appeal. Donors must be 16 years or over and have bill payers permission. Texts are free and donations will be added to the bill.