UK

UK public 'shaming world politicians' over Pakistan aid

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Media captionBrendan Gormley of the DEC "UK public are shaming politicians across the world"

The generosity of the British public in helping Pakistan's flood victims is "shaming politicians around the world", the head of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has said.

Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the DEC, said the UK public was leading the way in donations, but that further funds were urgently needed.

The DEC's Pakistan Floods Appeal has now raised more than £30m.

Critics say the world community has been too slow to respond to the crisis.

Mr Gormley said that while the response of the UK government was to be respected, other nations had been slow to react to the situation in Pakistan that was continuing to affect more than 20 million people.

He told a press conference in central London that for the first time in DEC's history, more money was donated in the second week of an appeal campaign than the first.

Mr Gormley said this fact was "hugely moving" and a response to the situation on the ground in Pakistan continuing to develop.

He added that £5m had been donated over the past weekend alone.

'Catastrophe'

Jane Cocking, humanitarian director at Oxfam, said the Pakistan appeal was not just for one disaster.

"It is an appeal for a catastrophe made up of multiple single disasters," she said.

"But if we put all of this together, what we have is a single, long event that has the scale of the [Asian] tsunami, the devastation of Haiti, and the complexity of the Middle East."

Ms Cocking, who recently returned from Pakistan, said the scenes were the worst she had seen in more than two decades of humanitarian work.

About 25% of affected people had yet to receive any "significant" aid, she added, and echoed Mr Gormley's appeal to the British people to continue donating.

"I know that times are hard for a lot of people in the UK, but honestly, if people can give a little bit more, it really will go to the people who desperately need it," she said.

Mr Gormley's criticism of the international community's response comes after a senior United Nations official called the lack of global support "quite extraordinary".

"Right now, our level of needs in terms of funding is huge compared to what we've been receiving, even though this is the largest, by far, humanitarian crisis we've seen in decades," said Louis-George Arsenault, director of emergency operations for Unicef.

The DEC is an umbrella organisation of 13 UK humanitarian aid agencies - ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Care International, Cafod, Christian Aid, Concern, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

If you would like to make a donation to help people affected by the floods in Pakistan, you can do so through the UK's Disasters Emergency Committee at www.dec.org.uk or by telephone on 0370 60 60 900.

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