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Last Updated: Friday, 14 October 2005, 00:18 GMT 01:18 UK
TV appeal to boost UK quake aid
British aid plane being unloaded in Kashmir
A second UK relief plane took supplies from Dubai on Thursday

A TV appeal aiming to boost the 5m pledged by the British public to help survivors of the South Asia earthquake has been launched.

Celebrities and volunteers answered phones for seven hours as the launch was shown live on Channel 4.

Pledges have been lower than for the tsunami but campaign organisers denied compassion fatigue is affecting people.

The Queen has made a donation to the appeal and hoped it would encourage others to give, Buckingham Palace said.

Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which is co-ordinating Thursday's appeal, said: "Despite the tsunami and Niger appeals it is clear that the public are not experiencing donor fatigue.

We are humbled by the seemingly limitless compassion of the British public
Brendan Gormley
DEC

"Quite the opposite - we are humbled by the seemingly limitless compassion of the British public."

Celebrities helping the appeal include TV and radio presenter Jamie Theakston, singer Javine, Bend It Like Beckham actress Nina Wadia, former Coronation Street actor Chris Bisson, and former Big Brother contestant Makosi.

On Wednesday the government announced it would give 10m to a United Nations appeal which aims to raise $272m (151m) to help victims of the quake, known to have killed more than 25,000 in Pakistan and 1,200 in India.

A spokesman for the Department for International Development said three flights had transported supplies from a base in Dubai to Islamabad on Thursday afternoon, with a fourth due to depart later from Nottingham for the Pakistani capital.

HOW TO DONATE
Disasters Emergency Committee
0870 6060 900

DEC: Action Aid, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Concern, Help the Aged, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision

The Nottingham flight will transport 26.5 tonnes of winter tents, three vehicles and a large quantity of water purification tablets.

A further British relief flight, from the charity Oxfam, left for Pakistan from RAF Manston in Kent at about 1800 BST on Thursday.

Its 40 tonnes of aid supplies, due to arrive in Islamabad on Friday morning, will help 100,000 people.

The cargo includes 30,000 blankets, winter clothes for 5,000 children, 1,000 square metres of tarpaulin for shelters, and equipment to supply clean drinking water.

"This flight is our second to the area in as many days and we have already started aid distribution in many areas, with more trucks on the road to the most remote areas," Oxfam aid worker Shaista Aziz said from Islamabad.

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Save the Children, meanwhile, says it has upped its initial target of helping 5,000 families to 20,000 families.

But its efforts to deliver food, blankets and jackets to children affected by the earthquake had been hampered by a shortage of helicopters, severe weather conditions and blocked roads, a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, UK rescue teams are continuing their efforts although some from the International Rescue Corps and Rapid UK have left the badly damaged city of Muzaffarbad.

The Duke of Edinburgh on Thursday met students manning telephones for the Helping Hands for the Needy charity, in Stratford, east London, which is co-ordinating relief.

The Queen on Friday is due to meet members of the Pakistani Kashmiri community on a visit to north-east England.


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