http://www.thisislondon.com/news/articles/15666215?source=Evening Standard&ct=5 30 December 2004 Britons moved by the plight of a million children left orphaned or homeless by the Asian tsunami have donated £23 million in 24 hours. The money is still pouring into the main appeal for disaster relief after the first televised appeal, and the amount is expected to keep growing. The figure has already set a new record for donations and was described as "humbling" by the head of the appeal committee. Brendan Gormley, chief executive of charities umbrella group the Disasters Emergency Committee, said more than 400,000 people had given money and added: "It must go on. The big challenge to all of us is not to turn away, because we've got to rebuild those homes and those shattered livelihoods." The sum raised by the British public has rocketed past the £15 million in aid announced by the Government. The United Nations has estimated £1billion is needed immediately to prevent further loss of life through disease or starvation. The biggest relief operation in history has swung into operation, with flights arriving from across the world with water and water purification equipment, blankets and medicine. Today children's charity Unicef said one million children in Indonesia are in desperate need of help after Sunday's tidal wave. Hundreds of thousands more in Thailand, India and Sri Lanka are facing the same threat, while relief agencies fear fresh catastrophe from disease. The confirmed death toll for the disaster as a whole now stands at 92,000 and is certain to climb well beyond 100,000. The Thai prime minister has said there is now no hope for thousands missing in his country, while in many areas attempts to count bodies have been abandoned. The British death toll is feared to be approaching 100, while the Foreign Office is checking "hundreds" of reports of missing Britons. Scenes of children clinging to life in the aftermath of the tidal wave have prompted the massive scale of donations, with charities reporting British children sending their Christmas money to the fund. An Oxfam spokesman said: "People have been phoning in tears." England's cricketers, who are on a tour of South Africa, today collectively donated £15,000 to the relief fund. Disasters Emergency Committee spokeswoman Abby King said: "We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of the British public. This is a crisis that is still unfolding and the full extent of the damage is only just becoming clear. The money being pledged is already making a difference but this is a long-term crisis and we would urge people to continue in their generosity." Mr Gormley pledged the committee would spend less than a penny of each pound donated on administration, passing on the vast bulk to frontline efforts. While offers of food, blankets and volunteer work are pouring in, charity chiefs said that cash donations were most needed for the immediate relief effort. A plane chartered by Oxfam headed yesterday for Sri Lanka and Indonesia, carrying 27 tons of emergency water and sanitation equipment which will provide safe water for 170,000 people. The Federation of Tour Operators, which has been arranging the transfer of empty planes to the region to bring back stranded holidaymakers, has started organising the transport of humanitarian aid on the outward flights. Unicef, as well as providing emergency relief including two flights carrying food and medicine and water purification tablets, will soon be turning its attention to trauma counselling and schooling needs. Care International is providing water and other essentials to the worst-affected areas in Sri Lanka. Care Thailand is supplying medicines, clothes and other goods. In Sri Lanka there are already reports of thousands suffering from measles and diarrhoea. Many areas in the worst-hit Indonesian province of Aceh, in the north of the island of Sumatra, have still to be reached by aid agencies. Disease, starvation and thirst are expected to be rife. On the streets of Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, fights broke out over packets of instant noodles dropped from the air. But other relief supplies piled up at a regional airport because of a lack of cars, fuel or passable roads to move them. Health officials in Thailand are also warning that areas ravaged by the tsunami are running out of fresh water. With seawater, silt and sand covering swathes of the southern coastline, the health ministry said lack of fresh water could bring outbreaks of dysentery, cholera and typhoid. David Nabarro, head of crisis operations for the World Health Organisation, said: "I am very scared people are not paying real attention to this. Counting deaths is one thing and looking at damaged hotels is another, but the real issue is making sure the human beings affected by this tragedy survive."