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Brendan Gormley, chief executive, Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) was formed in 1963 and is an umbrella organisation for 13 humanitarian aid agencies:

ActionAid / British Red Cross / CAFOD / Care International UK / Christian Aid / Concern Worldwide / Help the Aged / Islamic Relief / Merlin / Oxfam / Save the Children / Tearfund / World Vision

At times of overseas emergency, the DEC brings together a unique alliance of the UK’s aid, corporate, public and broadcasting sectors to rally the nation’s compassion, and ensure that funds raised go to DEC agencies best placed to deliver effective and timely relief to people most in need.

The DEC’s remit is to unite agency efforts in times of disaster – such as flood, earthquake or famine – wherever it happens in the world. The way we at DEC approach our work is to maximise funds raised and ensure they are spent in an effective and fully accountable way.

The DEC is also supported by a network of television and radio broadcasters, the banks, the Post Office, BT, regional and national press and a range of organisations in the corporate sector. These organisations help the DEC at the time of an appeal, to publicise the situation and raise funds.

DEC appeals are reserved for major disasters and emergencies which cannot be dealt with by the usual in-country coping mechanisms, and where DEC agencies are in a position to respond quickly and effectively. Our DEC Decision-making guidelines are used to ensure that a national joint appeal is the appropriate response to a particular emergency.

At the time of appeal, we coordinate a strategic response with our members and Rapid Response Network partners, organising a national fundraising appeal to finance urgently needed humanitarian relief.

“Haiti has been the biggest thing I have confronted. We saw a capital city wiped out.” Brendan Gormley