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His Majesty The King meeting with DEC

World Vision CEO meets The King

DEC members met with His Majesty at Buckingham Palace

World Vision Chief Executive Mark Sheard was among a number of representatives from charities who met His Majesty The King on 29 November 2022.

His Majesty The King met with CEOs and experts from the 15 charities that make up the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) at Buckingham Palace to discuss humanitarian crises around the world. The group, which also included senior UK Government officials, recognised the life-changing impact of funds given by the UK public to international humanitarian crises, and discussed how the changing climate is affecting the world’s most vulnerable communities.

His Majesty The King with DEC charity officials
His Majesty The King with DEC charity officials

Mark said: “It was a real privilege to meet His Majesty The King, who showed a deep interest and knowledge of our work, having visited our Ukraine response hub in Romania back earlier this year. He was also eager to explore the inter-relationship between climate and conflict and its enduring impact on fragile environments, expressing a keen interest in regenerative programmes like Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration.

The meeting focused first on Pakistan, where unprecedented rainfall caused devastating flooding this summer, leaving millions homeless. Since the flooding, the country has been affected by a secondary health crisis, as waterborne and mosquito-borne diseases proliferate through the stagnant waters. Eleven DEC charities are responding in Pakistan, providing food and clean drinking water, shelter, sanitation and healthcare to people who lost everything in the floods.

Pakistan floods response

DEC’s recent Pakistan Floods Appeal has raised £38 million, thanks to the generosity of the British public with donations also from Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort and Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales. The appeal also received £5 million in UK Aid Match from the UK Government.

DEC charities also spoke to His Majesty about the situation in East Africa, where families are facing a devastating hunger crisis due to extreme drought – a symptom of the changing climate. The DEC is monitoring the situation, and many member charities - including World Vision - are already responding locally. The drought in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia is the worst in living memory, killing crops and livestock, while in South Sudan severe flooding has destroyed successive harvests. Conflict has exacerbated the situation in several areas.

The DEC charities’ meeting with The King concluded in a discussion of the broader humanitarian picture, including the situations in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

Ukrainian refugee children meet World Vision staff at the boarder
Ukrainian refugee children are met by World Vision staff after crossing the boarder.

Like Pakistan and East Africa, Afghanistan has been affected by the fallout from Covid and rising food prices due in part to the war in Ukraine. The DEC’s Afghanistan Crisis Appeal launched last December raised £51 million and has been providing a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people facing food shortages and a lack of healthcare following a severe drought and the collapse of the economy.

Ukraine response

The DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal has raised over £380 million and is supporting people in Ukraine as they face the cold of winter amid power cuts and damage to homes, as well as refugees in neighbouring countries.

Saleh Saeed, the DEC’s Chief Executive, said: “We've seen and heard so many times now how the climate crisis is causing or exacerbating humanitarian crises. The rains fail, or come too heavily, or at different and unusual times. For many people and communities already on the edge of disaster they simply find themselves pushed over the brink. As we all grapple with the impact of climate change we warmly welcome His Majesty The King’s interest and support in our work in responding to the needs of those most affected and who are often those who have done the least to cause it.”

About the DEC

The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities at times of crisis overseas to raise funds quickly and efficiently. In these times of crisis, people in life-and-death situations need our help and our mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response. The DEC’s 15 member charities are: Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, International Rescue Committee UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.        

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