By Sean Ryan - 29 July, 2017
Catholic overseas aid agency Trócaire has thanked parishioners throughout the country for supporting their collection last weekend in aid of the crisis in East Africa.
The Irish Bishops’ Conference had called for a collection to respond to the 25 million people who face food shortages and starvation in Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia. Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, said the situation is critical, and urged support for the collection from parishioners.
“With the failure of successive rains and a prolonged drought having taken hold of the region, just surviving has now become the main challenge facing people in large parts of East Africa,” he said.
Speaking ahead of the collection, he said that “Millions of people in the region are facing starvation. The crops have failed and animals are dying because of a lack of grazing and water. The large number of people affected may shock us, but we must realise that behind these stark numbers are real people: mothers and fathers unable to provide for their hungry children.
“The Catholic Church in Ireland is already responding to this crisis through Trócaire. However, needs are so enormous that we will hold special collections across the country. All money collected will go directly to Trócaire’s humanitarian relief work in East Africa. Bishops are asking clergy and parishioners to respond to this terrible tragedy with generosity.”
Thanking the public for the response to the collection, Trócaire Director Éamonn Meehan said: “Our health centres and feeding programmes are saving lives but we urgently need to scale-up our response. Last weekend’s collection will enable us to reach even more people with life-saving aid. The support of the Catholic Church in Ireland will make a significant contribution to saving lives in East Africa over the coming weeks.”
Bishop William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne and chairperson of Trócaire, said the collection will greatly help Trócaire to reach even more people with life-saving aid. “We have been providing emergency food aid, water and healthcare to affected communities – quite literally life-support for affected people,” he said.
“Trócaire’s health centres in Somalia are treating approximately 19,000 people each month for malnutrition and associated illnesses. With the support of parishioners here at home in the coming weeks, many tens of thousands more people will receive help.
“For example, over 13,000 children in Kenya will receive supplementary high-energy food, new boreholes will be provided for communities, many more people will receive monthly food rations and schools will be supplied with water.”
He added that “Globally, this crisis has received very little attention. Appeals for aid are under-funded. For example, the UN has received just 37% of the funding it needs to respond to the crisis in Somalia. The world is distracted by the actions of a handful of powerful politicians, while in East Africa millions suffer in silence. It is unacceptable for so many to go hungry.”