Disasters Emergency Committee might launch Ebola appeal next week

The DEC is in discussions with its member charities and broadcaster partners about how to respond to the continuing health crisis in west Africa

Response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa
Response to the Ebola outbreak in west Africa

The Disasters Emergency Committee is in talks about launching an appeal for people affected by the Ebola crisis in west Africa.

It has been actively considering an appeal since last week and closely monitoring the situation for several weeks, a spokesman for the DEC said. It is in discussions with its 13 international aid agency members and its broadcaster partners, the BBC and ITN, with a view to potentially launching an appeal next week.

Third Sector understands that an appeal has not been launched yet because not all member agencies have formally agreed to it. Sorting out the messaging and logistics of the appeal, as well as how the aid would be delivered, is also said to be taking some time.

The DEC spokesman said: "It’s a little different to most of the disasters we respond to – we’ve never done an appeal for a disease outbreak before – but it’s clearly very worrying and there are all sorts of knock-on effects of the disease. It’s wider than just a public health emergency so that’s made us look at it very hard indeed."

He said that there were no specific obstacles to the appeal taking place, but that it needed to be considered against the DEC’s appeal criteria, which include the scale and urgency of the crisis, the likelihood that an appeal will be successful and the extent to which members are well placed to provide effective aid.

Age International is the only DEC member agency not already raising funds for Ebola. Nine members have launched specific appeals, and two are using their existing emergency funds for it.

The DEC published a blog post last week highlighting nine of the appeals, particularly those by the Red Cross and Save the Children, which are setting up Ebola isolation and treatment centres.

All appeals broadcast by the BBC must conform to the broadcaster’s editorial policy and guidelines, and to its obligations under its Royal Charter and Agreement with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Appeals broadcast on commercial channels must conform to the Ofcom’s editorial policy and guidelines.

Asked if the BBC was yet to agree to the appeal, the DEC  spokesman said the discussions were private. A spokesman for the BBC declined to comment.

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