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A Very British Appeal: Fifty Years of the Disaster Emergency Committee

A Very British Appeal: Fifty Years of the Disaster Emergency Committee

Tue Jul 2, 10.35-11.35pm, ITV

By Phil Harrison
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Last year, BBC4 broadcast a fascinating documentary called ‘The Trouble with Aid’, which explored the ways in which our charitable largesse can actually do more harm than good. Aid can fall into the wrong hands. It has a tendency to depoliticise important issues. And, particularly in recent conflicts like Afghanistan, it can simply seem like the carrot counterbalancing the stick represented by the military.

This isn’t that sort of film but, even if it feels a tad incurious in comparison, it’s hard not to come away feeling anything other than warmth towards the DEC and all those who sail in her. Rageh Omaar constructs a potted history of the organisation, interspersed with stirring segments from the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake relief effort and bang-up-to-date insights into its latest campaign – a mission to provide desperately needed humanitarian relief in Syria. Well worth a watch – but don’t forget to put your hand in your pocket afterwards.
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