CONCERN Emergency Office opens in Millennium Forum

In response to the Concern’s East Africa crisis appeal, local Concern volunteers are opening a temporary office in the Millennium Forum this week to take donations.

Mickey McDaid, former principal of St Anne’s Primary School in Derry and long time volunteer with Concern said that the charity had joined the other leading humanitarian agencies for the unfolding crisis in East Africa.

Severe drought has struck Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia but this is no ordinary drought, says Mickey.

“This current crisis is affecting 10 million people across the Horn of Africa.

“The Concern office will be opened each day this week, Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm to take donations. The situation in these countries is critical and they need our help.

“All donations, no matter how small are welcome. As a member of the Disaster Emergency Committee, Concern is working with other leading agencies to ensure that there is no duplication of relief efforts and that aid gets to where it is needed most.”

Somalia, southern Ethiopia and North East Kenya are the worst affected countries. They have received little or no rain in nine months and as a result of the drought, the crops have failed and people have been forced to leave their homes in the hope of finding food. Displacement camps for refugees are springing up in Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu.

Howa (pictured right with her youngest son Abdi), is one of the thousands of people staying in these temporary camps.

Before the crops failed, she had five children but three of her children have died from starvation and disease. Her youngest son, Abdi, is now severely malnourished and she is now fearful for his life.

Speaking about Howa, Austin Kennan,  Concern’s regional director for the Horn of Africa, said that situations like this make their teams “all the more determined to help”.

He says, though, there is hope: “Over the years the generosity and compassion of the public has helped us develop and deliver programmes that quite simply save the lives of young children like Abdi.”