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Concern says COVID-19 is cause of out-of-control human suffering

By Ann Marie Foley - 11 August, 2020

Community member on front of the 2019 Concern Annual Report. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Concern Worldwide

Conflict, climate change and now COVID-19, have increased the number of people in need worldwide during the last 18 months. This is according to Concern Worldwide which helped 28.6 million people in 2019, an increase of 4.4 million on 2018.

“The number of people Concern is helping is rising, because the number of people in need is increasing, driven over the last 18 months by conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dominic MacSorley, Chief Executive, Concern at the launch of the Annual Report 2019 on Sunday (9 August 2020).

“The year started with 168 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. COVID-19 has massively increased these needs. The impact on the poorest and most vulnerable is devastating and levels of human suffering are spiralling out of control,” he said.

Donations from the public and the flexibility shown by key donors such as Irish Aid helped the agency to adapt on-going work in line with COVID-19 restrictions while at the same time responding to new needs arising from the pandemic.

“In an unpredictable world, where COVID-19 was unheard of this time last year, Concern’s ability to be agile and responsive was tested in 2019,” he said.

The report, presented at the annual meeting, shows that Concern’s income was €189.5 million last year, €37.7 million of which came from public donations and legacies. In his introduction to the Annual Report MacSorley highlighted his visit to Concern projects in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

“Concern remains one of the few operational non-governmental organisations on the ground (in DPRK),” he noted. “Despite the complex environment we have steadily expanded our work around nutrition, conservation, agriculture, and clean water supply.”

Concern has demonstrated “the commitment to steadfastly remain in the areas of the world where needs are greatest. In a time of turmoil, Concern continues to be a rock of stability,” stated John Treacy, Chair, Concern.

He also paid tribute to Concern’s network of supporters and volunteers. “All of them are contributing to the mission of Concern, an expansive team keeping the flame of compassion alive across Ireland and further afield,” he said thanking everyone.

The annual report highlighted the organisation’s work in 24 countries during 2019, in key areas including: emergencies; livelihoods; health and nutrition and education.

Highlighted in the annual report is that Concern:
• responded to 82 emergencies in 21 countries directly reaching over 3.9 million people, and a further 7.5 million indirectly;
• responded to Cyclone Idai which affected 2.8 million people in Malawi and Mozambique in March and April;
• reached 569,000 farmers in 19 countries with climate smart agriculture interventions.

The AGM was held for the first time using Zoom due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.

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