UK aid agencies launch Liberia emergency appeal

 The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is today launching a multi-media Liberia Crisis Appeal to support the work of 11 of the UK's best known aid agencies. The Appeal will help fund the rapid expansion of aid work following the first signs of peace in the capital Monrovia. An estimated one million people are either trapped in appalling conditions in Liberia's cities or cut off from help in the countryside. Charities which will be supported by funds from the appeal are already at work in Monrovia providing medical care, clean water, family survival kits and food. The appeal will be launched at 11am in central London as two aid flights prepare to depart for Monrovia this evening from Manston Airport in Kent. Celebrities will staff some of the donation lines as the first television appeals - fronted by Ross Kemp - are screened on the BBC and ITV after 6.30pm. (See notes to editors for event details). DEC Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said: "The appalling conditions caused by the climax of the bloody civil war in Liberia will lead to widespread deaths without an urgent increase in the aid effort. Immediate financial help from the public can ensure that the DEC agencies will be able to step up their vital work quickly." Three attacks on the capital by the LURD rebels since June 2003 have trapped 250,000 people who had sought shelter in the city. As West African peacekeeping troops continue to deploy in Monrovia DEC agencies are expanding their work in Liberia and flying in new stocks of aid. Donations can be made online at by call 0870 60 60 900 or at any high street bank or post office. The DEC charities benefiting from the Liberia Crisis Appeal are: Actionaid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

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