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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 January, 2005, 02:55 GMT
UK tsunami donations reach 50m
Victims in Sumatra wade to safety
The UN is pleading for the world's help
The British public has donated 50m to help the victims of the Asian tsunami, say relief charities.

Up to 1m an hour has been donated and the government has raised its pledge from 15m to 50m, making it one of the largest international donors.

A three-minute silence is to be held on Wednesday to remember the 124,000 known to have died - including 34 Britons.

New Year's Eve revellers across the UK have also been holding minutes' silences to remember the victims.

The Queen has sent a New Year message of thanks to British charity workers and those who have made donations.

She said: "The dreadful events in Asia have shocked us all. No one could fail to be moved by the pictures we have seen of the devastation across the region.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost family or friends, and also with those who still await news of loved ones who are missing."

Five-year-old killed

The Queen added she had been impressed by the willingness of Britons to help through "donations, time, money or help with the relief effort on the ground".

Bereaved British families are continuing to mourn their lost ones, including the parents of five-year-old schoolgirl Isabella Peatfield, from Mappleton, near Ashbourne, who has been confirmed killed in Sri Lanka.

She leaves behind many people who loved her and especially her brother Oliver, who will miss her hugs when going to school and being chased by her
Kim and Tristan Peatfield mourn their daughter Isabella, five

It was also confirmed on Friday that garden designer Piers Simon, 33, of Chilthorne Domer, Yeovil, Somerset, had died in Koh Phi Phi in Thailand.

Of the confirmed British dead, the majority - 28 - were in Thailand; with three in Sri Lanka; and three in the Maldives.

Countless more Britons are still missing, and it is expected that the death toll will rise in coming days.

However, the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Steven Evans, said there was still a "very good chance" many of those reported missing were still alive.

He said: "Very often, people are thought to be missing but, in fact, they are safe and that fact hasn't become clear to the authorities.

"Alternatively they've moved elsewhere in the island and have yet to report in."

Those with family and friends missing should tell the Foreign Office and also inform officials if they turned up alive and well, he said.

'Do all we can'

On Friday alone 13m was received by the Tsunami Earthquake Appeal, set up by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella group for leading charities.

Brendan Gormley, the DEC chief executive, said the response to TV and radio appeals had been "absolutely phenomenal".

"But it really doesn't end here. The scale of this disaster means that the recovery process will be very long term and we really would encourage people to continue giving," he said.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is an umbrella group of UK charities including, among others, British Red Cross, Cafod, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund
Call them on 0870 60 60 900 or donate online at www.dec.org.uk
By the end of the week people should be able to donate cash or cheques - made payable to the DEC Tsunami Earthquake Appeal - at High Street banks.
Cash or cheques (made payable to Post Office Ltd) can be donated over the counter at Post Office branches.
Other bodies raising money include the Muslim groups Muslim Aid (020 7377 4200) and Islamic Relief (0121 622 0622) and the Hindu charities Sewa International 0116 261 0303 and the ISKCON Disaster Appeal on 01923 856848.

The DEC is providing thousands of telephone lines for people to give donations - by calling 0870 60 60 900 - and they can also be made on its website.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been donated by British businesses and organisations.

The English Premiership's 20 football clubs have donated 1m to the quake fund, with Birmingham City striker Dwight Yorke calling for all the top division's stars to give a week's wages to the relief effort. The England cricket team donated 15,000.

Announcing the increased government donation, Chancellor Gordon Brown said: "We will do all we can in the weeks and months ahead to ease the suffering of the millions left homeless, orphaned and vulnerable, and to help the rebuilding of their communities."

The government has also pledged to meet the costs of transporting any items bought with appeal funds.

Two UK ships, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Diligence and frigate HMS Chatham, are heading to the disaster area and expected to arrive on Tuesday to help with the relief effort.

Staying to help

HMS Chatham has Lynx helicopters on board to help move supplies, and and an RAF C17 transport plane is also being sent to the region.

Some Britons injured in the disaster say they will stay on to help with the aid effort.

David Holborn, 54, from Romford, Essex, was swept off Kata Noi beach, near Phuket. He and his wife Sophia have been helping with local fundraising events.

0207 008 0000 - for information on friends and relatives
0870 6060290 - for flight details or travel advice

"We lost everything, but we are safe," said Mr Holborn.

"If you see what they have lost, it breaks your heart... I want to help these people."

Food was beginning to arrive with those who needed it most, he said.

The Foreign Office is chartering extra passenger planes back to Britain to cope with the demand from stranded tourists.

It has set up an emergency helpline - 020 7008 0000 - for people worried about missing relatives.

Charities have been 'overwhelmed' by donations

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