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Tuesday, November 9, 1999 Published at 09:55 GMT


Lumley pleas for cyclone aid

Ms Lumley was born in India, the scene of the devastation

British actress Joanna Lumley is backing a massive fund-raising campaign to help victims of the Indian cyclone disaster.

Orissa: After the storm
The Absolutely Fabulous star, who was born in India, described the cyclone's devastating aftermath as on the "biblical scale of horror".

She has called on the UK to give as much money as possible to provide the area with life-saving supplies.

"The truth is we simply cannot stand by and refuse to help," she told the BBC.

Joanna Lumley: "It is a kind of biblical scale of horror"
Eleven of Britain's biggest aid charities have joined forces to launch the appeal under the banner of the Disasters Emergency Committee.

The DEC charities already working in the region, which include Oxfam, the British Red Cross Society and Save the Children, have reported an urgent need for food, clean water, shelter and medicines.

'People are starving'

It is estimated that 15 million people were affected by the disaster and up to 10,000 people died when cyclone 05B hit Orissa last month.

[ image: The cyclone affected 15 million people]
The cyclone affected 15 million people
Ms Lumley said 12 days after the storm the area was still a "scene of hell".

She said: "I am begging people for whatever they can give, no matter how little.

"Every last penny will go there - the smallest amount of money can help.

"It is completely horrific. It is a catastrophe over there."

When the cyclone winds of 150mph tore into the region, followed by a 10ft tidal wave, 1,500 villages were destroyed, leaving about two million homeless.

Drinking water has been contaminated and there are fears that diseases like cholera and malaria will spread.

Ms Lumley said: "There are rotting corpses of both humans and animals.

"The water is contaminated and people are starving."

The actress said just £5 could buy 10 blankets, while £30 could purify water for 1,000 people.

'Millions left destitute'

She will appear alongside actor Tom Conti in a series of TV fund-raising broadcasts, while Streetmate presenter Davina McCall is taking to the street to collect cash.

A DEC spokesman said: "Millions of people have been made destitute overnight and left without livelihoods.

"Crops have been destroyed and livestock killed.

"Britain's major charities are now appealing for money to help people cope with this dreadful catastrophe."

The DEC is made up of ActionAid, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Help the Aged, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

The India Cyclone Appeal telephone number is 0870 6060900.

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04 Nov 99 | South Asia
Orissa: After the storm - Full coverage

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