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DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal reaches £26m in first week

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The UK government has now increased its match funding to £10 million

The Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) East Africa Appeal has raised £26 million in its first week.

Drought and conflict have left 16 million people on the brink of starvation and in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment.

The public have responded quickly by donating, no doubt reacting to the news reports which show people already dying in South Sudan and Somalia.

In Kenya, the government has declared a national emergency and Ethiopia is battling a new wave of drought following the strongest El Niño on record.

The UK government has also upped its contribution since the appeal was launched and has now match funded £10m when originally it said it would match the first £5m donated.

The DEC, which is made up of the 13 of the UK's biggest aid charities, only comes together to launch an appeal in the direst circumstances.

The charities, including Save the Children, Oxfam and the British Red Cross, are already reaching millions of people across the four countries with lifesaving aid, such as food, water and treatment for malnutrition, but despite the strong start to fundraising much more still needs to be done to reach those in desperate need.

In recent days, the DEC has warned of an alarming surge in the transmission of waterborne diseases such as cholera.

The diseases is simple to treat but patients must receive medical assistance within the first few hours.

Those already suffering from malnutrition are particularly susceptible to transmission and are more likely to die.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “Our East Africa Crisis Appeal has now raised a staggering £26 million thanks to the generosity of the British public, my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has donated so far.

“I also want to thank the UK government for recognising the urgent needs across East Africa and supporting the appeal by committing to £10 million match funding.

“More than 16 million people are on the brink of starvation and people are dying across East Africa. This humanitarian crisis has reached critical levels and we would urge people to continue giving to save lives and reduce suffering.”

High profile celebrities including Matt Baker, Brenda Blethyn, Tamsin Greig, Bill Nighy and Eddie Redmayne have also backed the appeal by recording calls for support from the public.

Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters or to donate £5 by text send the word SUPPORT to 70000.