By Saleh Saeed OBE, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee
The response of the UK public in the face of the horrors of the conflict in Ukraine has made the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal one of the biggest in the DEC’s 60-year history.
We watched as images showing the impact of the conflict on civilians and vital infrastructure such as hospitals and water supplies were broadcast into our homes. We saw families split apart, lives lost and lives shattered – with the largest movement of people in Europe since the Second World War. But the response of the UK public is truly something we can be proud of.
The £400 million raised over the last year is second only to the appeal following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Millions of people up and down the country have supported the appeal, by texting to donate, giving through our website, attending fundraising events or taking on sponsored challenges. Communities, businesses, sports bodies, grant funders, arts organisations and people of all walks of life came together, inspired to take action.
Partners new and old have supported the appeal in all sorts of ways, from sending app notifications to customers to staging the DEC’s first televised fundraising concert. This was an amazing display of the DEC model – of the UK’s leading aid charities coming together with media and corporate partners – at its best.
Safe in the knowledge that funds were coming in, DEC charities were able to respond quickly with confidence and scale in Ukraine and in the neighbouring countries of Poland, Romania, Moldova and Hungary. It has been inspiring to see the humanitarian response in action: fast, effective and flexible.
This report lays out a detailed account of the truly impressive work that our member charities have been able to achieve at every stage of the year in an ever-changing emergency.
It illustrates how donations from the UK public have played a vital role in supporting a wide range of people affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Throughout each phase of the crisis, and each new challenge that’s arisen, DEC charities and their local partners have been there to help people get through this.
I would like to pay tribute to the incredible bravery and commitment of the aid workers and volunteers on the ground, most of whom are themselves from Ukraine, who have continued their hugely important work in extremely difficult conditions, making a real difference to the lives of so many.
This crisis is far from over. And it will take years to repair, even when peace does eventually come. But, thanks to the British public’s generosity, the level of funds raised means that we’ll be able to keep providing support to those affected, and responding to changing needs on the ground as the situation unfolds.
I am so grateful to every single person who has donated, by text, phone and email; in cake sales, sponsored runs and employee collections, and all the other ways you have supported. Your donations are making a real difference and will continue to do so – THANK YOU.
Saleh Saeed OBE
*Names changed to protect identities