Public gives £2m to appeal

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The Independent Online

The Independent has launched its own appeal through the DEC, an umbrella organisation which groups 15 major charities including Oxfam, Islamic Relief and Christian Aid. Readers, who gave generously to The Independent's appeal organised through the DEC after the Boxing Day tsunami, can make donations online (see links on the right) or by filling out the voucher in today's paper.

A DEC spokesman said Independent readers' money "will go straight to work" in the areas affected by the quake that struck the heart of the disputed Kashmir region. Charities said the response had been excellent, confounding fears that "compassion fatigue" may have affected the public.

The DEC's first television appeal is to be broadcast tonight. A spokeswoman said that the appeal had already received £2m. "We are really pleased with how it is going - the response has been excellent," she said. Oxfam has also received £600,000 in direct donations to its own appeal fund. The charity has sent out two aid flights, but said that access to the worst affected areas was a big problem. Aid organisations are also racing against time to reach remote villages before winter sets in.

Tony Blair announced an additional £10m in government aid. Much of the government money is being channelled through Islamic Relief, which is supplying blankets, medical kits and shelter.