'We can give the people hope' says Gordon Brown in TV appeal for flood aid

FORMER Prime Minister Gordon Brown used one of his first television appearances since leaving Downing Street to appeal for aid for victims of the flooding in Pakistan.

The interview, on GMTV yesterday, was one of the first indications that Mr Brown intends to make good his pledge to devote his post government public life to helping those in need abroad.

And his intervention from the central postal sorting office in London came as it was revealed that his fellow Scots have so far donated 795,000 out of 9.5 million raised across the UK to help to provide relief for the stricken country, according to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Brown said it was vital to send more cash to the crisis-hit country, but he added that he believed the amount raised so far showed that the British public were still very generous even in tough economic times. He said: "I think there's not a compassion or giving fatigue. I think there's an outpouring of compassion in this country."

"I think we are seeing the number of people wanting to do something rising."

He added: "When you see on television a young infant girl struggling for life, probably not being able to make it as a result of the floods, you want to do something.

"I think every single person in this country will have that compassion."

Mr Brown said the full scale of the situation in Pakistan was still unfolding.

"I think when we had the tsunami, people saw immediately what the problem was.

"Now we are seeing it rising, monsoons coming later," he said.

"The worst position to be in is for there to be sorrow without hope, and we can give people hope by us helping and doing something as individuals, matched by the government, of course, and other governments.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We can give people the hope that they can come through what is now seen as the worst disaster in Pakistan and floods for 80 years."

He refused to be drawn on the new coalition government's record home and abroad, saying that he wanted to concentrate his efforts on international aid.

But Mr Brown said he was adapting to life outside No 10 and enjoying spending more time with his family, while his sons were looking forward to starting school in Fife shortly.

Commenting on the donations from Scotland, the Rev Kathy Galloway, the convener of DEC in Scotland, said the country had been very generous but more money needed to come in.

"The situation in Pakistan continues to get worse and the devastation is now affecting 40 per cent of the country and many millions of people," she said.

"As the rains continue, the waters are moving downstream and there are grave concerns about further deaths due to water-borne diseases."

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said that the disaster was on a "huge scale".

The four planes, chartered by the UK Department for International Development, will deliver 1,000 tents, more than 9,000 shelter kits, 24,000 water containers and nearly 50,000 blankets.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The British gGovernment has now earmarked 31.3 million for the floods relief and recovery effort.

Mr Mitchell said: "This is a disaster on a huge scale covering an area the size of England. Nearly seven million people are critically affected.

"That is why I'm announcing further help for the people of Pakistan."