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Last Updated: Tuesday October 11 2005 18:12 GMT

How does the DEC appeal work?

Rachel Lewis from the Disasters Emergency Committee
A huge appeal has been launched in the UK to help the people in south Asia after the earthquake, with 13 charities linking up as part of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

The most immediate need is for food, water, medicine and blankets to ensure the survivors do survive.

It is difficult to get the help there though and the first priority is to find out about remote villages that can't be reached.

But once DEC starts raising money and being given donations, what do they do with it?

Rachel Lewis from DEC explained how the aid appeal works.

What does DEC do?
DEC has been set up so that instead of all the charities working independently we work as a team and pool all our money and resources so everyone is covered.

This is how it worked with the tsunami in Asia that hit on Boxing Day 2004.

What's happening now?
The immediate action is to send out pulses, flour, and wheat - food to keep people alive, as well as setting up medical camps.

The 48 hours after a disaster are crucial in order to meet the immediate needs - which is what we are focusing on for now.

Rather than everyone ploughing in they send in assessment crews who work out what is needed and where.

There's no point sending lots of stuff on a plane as it costs money that could be spent on helping people. It's much better to have the cash, as more appropriate stuff can be bought with it.

This way, 98p out of every pound donated goes straight to the people who need it most.

What needs to be done in months to come?

It's going to be an ongoing process. Eventually we will need to rebuild roads and villages. It's a long process ahead as people try to re-build their lives.

Fundraising needs to go on for a long time to come, when money will be less for the immediate emergency and more for construction like hospitals and schools.

Is it difficult to get help to everyone?
There are villages we still don't know about, as roads have been destroyed. Some villages are only accessible by helicopter, which is why need to act immediately

What practical things can children do to help?
The best thing they can do is fundraise. Some examples are a fashion show at your school, or a basketball tournament night so can have fun and save lives at the same time

This operation will be going on for some time so doesn't matter if it takes a few weeks.

For more tips on how to raise money, click on the link on the right hand side.

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