Skip to content Skip to cookie consent
Tearfund home

What is the DEC? (Disasters Emergency Committee)

The DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) is made up of 15 UK aid charities who pool resources in times of emergency.

Written by Tarryn Pegna | 07 Nov 2023

A large orange digger stands in front of a half-destroyed building, ready to start to clear away the rubble.

A DEC banner from the appeal launched after earthquakes caused widespread devastation in Turkey and Syria in February of 2023.

The DEC stands for the Disasters Emergency Committee and it is made up of 15 of the UK’s leading aid charities, of which Tearfund is one.

What does the DEC do?

In times of emergency, the DEC works to bring together the capabilities of the member charities who would normally be responding to an emergency situation, so that we can pool resources and coordinate a fast, efficient and effective public response to disasters happening in other countries around the world.

By working in collaboration with the Rapid Response Network of national media and corporate partners, the DEC is able to raise awareness amongst the UK public on a larger scale than any of the individual charities could do on their own and get the word out about what has happened, the urgent needs arising from it, and the planned response. The DEC also helps set up easy ways for people to donate money.

This means that vital aid can get to the people who need it, fast.

Which charities make up the DEC?

Current DEC members are: Action Against Hunger, Action Aid, Age Concern, British Red Cross, CAFOD, Care, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, International Rescue Committee, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

The DEC is also part of the Emergency Appeals Alliance (EAA), which is a global alliance of humanitarian coalitions (like the DEC).

What does Tearfund have to do with the DEC?

The chief executives of each of the member charities, including Tearfund’s Nigel Harris, along with up to six independent trustees, make up a board of trustees that govern the DEC. Together, they are responsible for running the DEC and making sure that it continues to carry out its charitable purpose and objectives.

The DEC is funded by the member charities, and money raised by DEC appeals is then used by the charities to fund their humanitarian response to the emergency.

‘Looking back over the years Tearfund has worked with the DEC reminds me that the things we do together really do make a difference.’
Anthony Rama, Deputy International Director for Tearfund

What appeals has the DEC done?

Recent appeals by the DEC have included a response to the Turkey-Syria earthquakes, the conflict in Ukraine, and the terrible flooding in Pakistan in August 2022.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the DEC also launched an appeal to help ensure that those living in places that were already facing considerable challenges of conflict and instability could get help. The appeal focused on Yemen, Syria, Somalia, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Afghanistan and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The importance of the DEC

Anthony Rama is Deputy International Director for Tearfund and previously held the role of Country Director for Tearfund’s work in South Sudan. He has worked across Africa through conflict, floods, locust swarms, famine and Ebola outbreaks.

He says, ‘I’ve seen where these [DEC] donations are invested and I can tell you it’s made a big difference in places like South Sudan, where Tearfund has been able to help communities rebuild nutrition centres for babies and nursing mothers that were swept away in the floods.

‘During the Covid-19 pandemic, Tearfund supported faith leaders as they shared life-saving health advice and equipment with their communities.

‘All around the world, people are finding it hard to meet even their most basic needs – like water, food, shelter and safety from harm. Looking back over the years Tearfund has worked with the DEC reminds me that the things we do together really do make a difference.’

Written by

Written by  Tarryn Pegna

Share this page

Share this page to spread the word and help support those in need.

Get our email updates

Learn about our work and stay in touch with Tearfund. Hear about our news, activities and appeals by email.

Sign up now - Get our email updates

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.