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DEC launches urgent Pakistan appeal

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DEC brings together 15 leading aid agencies at times of crisis overseas

An urgent appeal has been lauched by Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in Scotland and across the to help millions affected in Pakistan by flooding.

One third of the country – an area the size of the UK – has been submerged, according to the government of Pakistan, with floods sweeping away entire communities and leaving more than a million homes destroyed or badly damaged.

At least 1,100 people have already been killed and six million more are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. 

The DEC brings together 15 leading aid agencies at times of crisis overseas – including six agencies active in Scotland, namely Islamic Relief Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, the British Red Cross, Tearfund Scotland, Save The Children and Christian Aid Scotland.

Around 33 million people are affected overall - one in seven Pakistanis. Whole villages have been cut off, with rescuers struggling to reach them. Schools, roads, crops and livelihoods are gone and DEC charities say that time is critical with conditions expected to worsen as the rains continue. 

The immediate focus of the relief effort is to save lives and provide temporary shelter and blankets to people who have lost their homes, clean water and sanitation to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases, food and medical assistance. 

Nadeem Baqir, DEC spokesperson in Scotland said: “Our priority right now is to help save and protect lives as waters continue to rise. The scale of these floods has caused a shocking level of destruction – crops have been swept away and livestock killed across huge swathes of the country, which means hunger will follow.

“DEC charities are doing all they can but donations from people across Scotland will make a huge difference in enabling them to reach more people. We’re urging everyone to give whatever they can, at what we appreciate is a difficult time for us all.”  

Seven DEC member charities, including Action Against Hunger, Islamic Relief and Save the Children, are already on the ground in Pakistan providing life-saving aid but say that funds are vital to reach more of those affected with food, clean drinking water and shelter. At least four more members, including Oxfam GB, are intending to respond either directly or through local partners. 

Appeals will be broadcast on BBC Scotland, STV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky today (1 September) following the evening news.  

Waseem Ahmad, CEO at DEC member agency Islamic Relief Worldwide: “I've seen how whole villages have been swept away and submerged. I saw miles of nothing but water, where just a few days ago there were entire communities and people's homes.

“I've met so many families who fled for their lives just minutes before the floods arrived and they have lost absolutely everything they owned - their homes are destroyed, their livestock are dead and their crops are ruined. They don't know how they will feed themselves and their children.”