Dignitaries will gather to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an organisation which has helped millions across the globe in their time of greatest need.  

Hosted by Lord Provost, Jacqueline McLaren, on Tuesday Glasgow’s city chambers will welcome supporters, fundraisers and DEC partners to pay tribute to the work done by the organisation in places ravaged by catastrophes during the past six decades.  

Representatives of diaspora communities in Scotland from places that DEC has supported in the past will attend, including those from Ethiopia, Syria, Turkey, Somalia and Pakistan. 

There are few places in the world where the DEC has not had a presence, and its vital work continues in disaster areas at this moment, such as Turkey and Syria following the disastrous earthquakes which struck last year.  

In Scotland, the DEC attracts high-profile celebrity support, such the musicians, including the bands Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Deacon Blue and others, who gave up their time to stage a major concert for the South East Asia tsunami appeal in 2005. 

READ MORE: Turkey and Syria after earthquakes one year on

This connection will be marked by Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, who will play his track 'There is an Everlasting Song' at the event. 

Mr Murdoch said: "You know some people say, Well, why should we be supporting people so far away when there's poverty at home?

"But the great thing about the DEC is that it brings a focus to these international crises. Let's face it. These people are way worse off on the whole, than people in the UK. 

"I feel like there's a great democratisation there. There's a chance for people to actually give money. It's almost like voting. It's almost like they have a faith in an organization like the DEC."

More recently, the DEC here has been backed in its campaign by Shetland actor Dougie Henshall, global star Annie Lennox, comedian Susan Calman and the current Makar, Kathleen Jamie, who rewrote Burns famous poem, A man’s a man as a Woman’s a Woman to highlight the dangers faced by women and children in humanitarian crises. 

The DEC in Scotland is also backed by all main political parties at Holyrood, with the Scottish government donating several million pounds to support its appeals. 

Six of the now 15 DEC members raise funds north of the border – Oxfam, Save the Children, Tearfund, British Red Cross, Christian Aid and Islamic Relief – channeling donations and expertise back into the vital work of the DEC.  

The Herald: The DEC responded to the earthquake in Turkey last year The DEC responded to the earthquake in Turkey last year (Image: DEC)

In the past 60 years, the UK public has given an astounding £2.4bn to 77 national appeals, responding with empathy and generosity to the plight of others.  

It is all a long way from the initial appeal which set the Committee on its way to becoming a global relief organisation.  

The DEC began life after a cyclone hit Sri Lanka in 1963 and the High Commissioner in London broadcast an appeal to the British public for help.   

Lord Astor, chairman of the Standing Conference of British Organisations for Aid to Refugees, proposed that relief agencies and interested parties should cooperate closely together to provide relief after a disaster overseas.   

READ MORE: Scots raise more than £13m in aid for Turkey and Syria after devastating earthquakes

The British Red Cross agreed to co-ordinate and the new DEC was recognised by the BBC as a representative body.  

One of the worst humanitarian crises of the 20th century was the Ethiopian famine in the 80’s. A catastrophic combination of drought, civil war and a repressive government led to food shortages and a hunger crisis from 1983 to 1985.   

In October 1984 the DEC launched the Ethiopia in Famine Fund and the DEC raised millions in just a few days.  

Then in 2004, images broadcast across television screens on Boxing Dashook the world. The devastating earthquake and following tsunami in Asia were the worst natural disaster in modern times.  

The Herald: The Boxing Day Tsunami was the DEC's biggest ever appeal The Boxing Day Tsunami was the DEC's biggest ever appeal (Image: DEC)

A massive earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, triggered a 500mph tidal wave which hit seven countries around the Indian Ocean. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions of lives were shattered.    

The response of the British people was unprecedented, and the Boxing Day Tsunami Appeal is still the largest DEC appeal ever. In just two months it raised the equivalent of £733 million in today’s money and allowed DEC member charities to respond to the size and scale of the disaster, not just with recovery work but with wholescale construction.    

Today, the DEC has grown from its five original members – the British Red Cross, Save the Children, Inter-Church Aid (now known as Christian Aid), the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (now known as Oxfam) and War on Want - to bringing together 15 of the UK’s leading aid agencies in times of crisis.    

The Herald: Saleh Saeed CEO of the DECSaleh Saeed CEO of the DEC (Image: DEC)

Alongside the major TV broadcasters, the DEC now has a Rapid Response Network of key media and corporate partners who help launch our emergency appeals at very short notice, getting the message out and making it easy for the UK public to donate quickly and seamlessly.    

“Each time we have called upon the British public to help they have responded to our call with such incredible generosity,” says Saleh Saeed OBE, Chief Executive at the DEC who has led the charity for 11 years. “That generosity people here in the UK show to others who they’ve never met, and who live thousands of miles away, is astonishing. 

“Thanks to this extraordinary support we can respond to people in their hour of need. This is something the British public can be truly proud of.”