Star-studded Ukraine emergency aid appeal raises £85 million in two days

A celebrity-backed emergency appeal to provide aid to Ukraine has raised over £85 million in what has been described as an “absolutely incredible” show of support from the UK public.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has thanked everyone who has contributed so far and said the message from aid workers at Ukraine’s borders and inside the invaded nation is that money is needed rather than donated items.

Celebrities have been involved in highlighting the appeal, with broadcasts by Trigger Point actor Adrian Lester and Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington after the evening news on Thursday, and commercial radio appeals voiced by Doctor Who star David Tennant.

People evacuating from Irpin, north-west of Kyiv in Ukraine

The DEC, made up of 15 leading UK aid charities aiming to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas, has warned that support for Ukraine is likely to be needed for “months and years” and it urged people to keep donating.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed told BBC Breakfast: “What we would advise is the things that people collect today here in the UK are not necessarily what people need tomorrow.

“That’s why we would urge, please donate cash through a reputable charity.

“Trying to transport goods from here, the UK, thousands of thousands to Ukraine will take a long time and may not necessarily be what people need when it arrives.”

Mr Saeed asked people to consider giving to the DEC appeal, saying the aid will reach the most vulnerable, including women and children who have fled Ukraine to neighboring countries.

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In an update on Saturday, the DEC said: “We are seeing an absolutely incredible response from the public to this appeal, which has now raised over £85 million.

“We’re grateful to everyone who is giving, organizing events and helping to spread the word.

David Tennant is among those to have slowed themselves to the DEC appeal
David Tennant is among those to have slowed themselves to the DEC appeal

“Our member charities are at the borders and inside Ukraine responding to the huge and growing humanitarian crisis.

“They’re telling us that what they need is funding rather than donated items.

“The things that people give today might not be what people need tomorrow.”

The committee said “generous donations” have already been made to the appeal by the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge among others, and the latest total includes £25 million from the UK Government.

The situation in Ukraine remains desperate, with over 1.3 million people having fled the country since the invasion ordered by Vladimir Putin began nine days ago.

A planned ceasefire in the areas of Mariupol and Volnovakha is not thought to be going ahead because of ongoing conflict putting civilians at risk.

A planned ceasefire in Mariupol (pictured) has been suspended
A planned ceasefire in Mariupol (pictured) has been suspended

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in a statement to Reuters: “We remain in dialogue with the parties about the safe passage of civilians from different cities affected by the conflict.

“The scenes in Mariupol and in other cities today are heart-breaking. Any initiative from the parties that gives civilians a respite from the violence and allows them to voluntarily leave for safer areas is welcome.”

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The Ukrainian government previously said the plan was to evacuate around 200,000 people from Mariupol and 15,000 from Volnovakha and the ICRC is the ceasefire’s guarantor.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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