Tsunami - one month on: Ask for DEC funding, advises Princess Royal

Tania Mason

The Princess Royal, president of Save the Children, has advised aid agencies that are not members of the Disasters Emergency Committee "not to whinge too much" about being excluded from DEC funds.

In an exclusive interview with Third Sector, the Princess said: "The DEC was set up originally for the biggest international charities who were capable of responding, but frankly I think they would be only too pleased to find other people who were knowledgeable within those countries.

"So don't shout at them - write them a nice letter making the point that you have expertise available. I don't know what the limitations are on the funds raised, but I know that Save the Children has always been keen to support local bodies as long as they know them."

The princess said she had advised the Mission to Seafarers, where she is also president, to ask the DEC whether it would make any funding available for the mission's work in tsunami-hit areas. The mission last week pledged up to £500,000 for seafarers affected by the disaster, including the appointment of a full-time chaplain in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

"The mission has a direct relationship with the sea-faring communities in Sri Lanka," said the princess. "They don't see themselves as a disasters-emergency response outfit, but they have chaplains and they know the families and the work, which is critical. I suggested they went to the DEC and said 'look, we have connections on the ground, can we help?'"

A mission spokesman said it had not needed to carry this out yet, though it might consider doing so in future.

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