Donations to the Indonesian earthquake appeal will be doubled by the UK Government.
More than 1,500 people are thought to be dead, missing or injured after last Friday’s 7.5 magnitude tremor and tsunami on the island of Sulawesi and up to 1.5 million people have been affected.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has pledged to match the first £2 million of public donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s (DEC) Indonesia Tsunami Appeal.
The move will take the UK Government aid to the devastated Sulawesi region to £5m, on top of sending a team of six aid workers and a plane full of shelters, water filters and solar lamps.
Visiting DEC headquarters, Ms Mordaunt said: “The British public have been very moved by the plight of so many people hit by these terrible events.
“Aid Match is a chance for the British public to help directly to support people in desperate need.
“As well as our support through UK aid, the UK Government will match pound for pound all public donations up to £2 million.
“Your help will make a genuine difference, ensuring that lifesaving aid reaches those in dire need in Indonesia right now.”
Aid efforts have been hampered in the past few hours by Mount Soputan in North Sulawesi spewing ash nearly 20,000ft into the sky.
“We are deeply grateful for the generosity of people in the UK and we hope this announcement will inspire even more people to give, knowing that whatever they donate will be matched pound for pound,” he said.
“The situation in Indonesia is truly desperate. People have now gone several days without food, many are still believed to be trapped under the rubble, and we have heard stories of children becoming separated from their families.
“DEC member charities are on the ground doing everything they can to help, but more funds are urgently needed to ensure we can reach as many people as possible.”
A £5 donation can be made by texting SUPPORT to 70000, with the text costing £5 and the whole £5 going to the appeal.
The latest package of support comes less than 24 hours after the Government increased its direct support by £1 million to a total of £3 million in a bid to help more than 70,000 people forced to flee their homes.
Supplies include 1,300 shelter kits, which can accommodate five people each, 2,300 water purifiers and 1,000 solar lanterns.
A team of five UK humanitarian experts left London for Sulawesi earlier this week, and are now helping to coordinate the response on the ground.
A sixth team member has joined them, and the UK will keep its support under review.
The UK has also offered the use of HMS Argyll, currently located in Singapore, to support the humanitarian relief effort.
The government of Indonesia has thanked the UK Government for this offer, but said it is not needed at this time.
The Department for International Development (DfID) funding is on top of existing UK-funded support through humanitarian agencies on the ground.
These include the DfID-backed UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which has allocated 15 million US dollars to the Indonesia earthquake response.
DfID provided 20% of all contributions to the fund in 2017.
The 15 million dollars will allow UN agencies and humanitarian organisations to rapidly scale up aid operations providing shelter, clean water and health support.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has almost 300 specialist volunteers and staff carrying out search and rescue missions and providing emergency health assistance on the ground.
The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has made 1.5 million euro available to support the relief effort.