People in Derry have helped to save the lives of more than 400,000 people in east Africa, charity Trócaire has revealed.
People in Ireland, north and south, responded to drought and famine in east Africa by donating an incredible £8.4 million to Trócaire’s emergency appeal.
Half of that money was raised at church collections - of which more than £136,000 was donated through the Diocese of Derry.
Trócaire Director Justin Kilcullen hailed the “extraordinary generosity” of the public across Ireland and said the donations “had saved the lives of people threatened by hunger after experiencing the worst drought in 60 years”.
Drought and famine ravaged parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia last summer, putting 13 million people at risk of hunger. Donations were used to bring urgent supplies of food, water, medical care and other vital aid to more than 400,000 people across the three countries.
In excess of 250,000 of those helped were in Somalia, where Trócaire has a presence going back 20 years.
Justin Kilcullen paid tribute to the response of the people of Ireland to the drought and famine.
“The response of people in Ireland was truly incredible. The £8.4m donated to Trócaire equates roughly to £1.30 for every man, woman and child on this island, which is remarkable given the many problems facing people at home. Time and time again, people here have shown their desire to put their own problems to one side and help people in dire need elsewhere.
“Drought and famine are different kinds of emergency to an earthquake or flooding. It takes projects with a long-term focus to put the structures in place to help people build resistance to the lack of rain. Having implemented an emergency plan, we are now in the process of working with communities towards building long-term solutions.
“The world has to realise that without twinning investment and aid with urgent action to combat climate change, droughts and famines are going to become more regular features of life across Africa, Asia and Latin America. The scenes we saw in Somalia last year were heartbreaking. The world needs to work together to make sure we never see those scenes again.”
Amongst the projects funded through donations to Trócaire were:
n 4,657 tonnes of food and 261,062 litres of oil supplied to 110,882 people in Kenya.
n Drought resistant seeds supplied to 50,000 people in Kenya and Somalia.
n 60 water tanks, 22 wells, 12 rain water catchments and 4 boreholes constructed or rehabilitated.
* 52,260 people in Ethiopia benefitting from cash for work or direct cash transfers.
n Food distributed to 30,000 people in Ethiopia.
n 4,000 bed nets provided to communities vulnerable to malaria in Somalia.
n 2,874 patients and carers in two hospitals were supplied with two meals a day.
n 1,833 pregnant women or new mothers supplied with rations of Unimix.