The people of Kilkenny are being asked to support an appeal by a consortium of Irish charities who have come together to respond to the coronavirus pandemic amongst some of the world’s poorest people.
Six of Ireland’s leading international aid agencies are teaming up to respond to the worsening global coronavirus pandemic and to save lives in some of the poorest and most fragile countries.
The agencies have combined forces to form the Irish Emergency Alliance, which will jointly raise money from the Irish public and respond in countries facing rising coronavirus cases and already struggling to cope with the impact of conflict and displacement as well as widespread poverty, increased rates of hunger and poor health care.
The coronavirus appeal will focus on vulnerable communities in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, all coping with the impact of widescale conflict, as well as Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon and the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
These seven countries are home to more than 17 million refugees and displaced people. For people living in refugee camps or slums it is nearly impossible to practice physical distancing, while a lack of soap and water in many homes makes it harder to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Money raised by the Irish Emergency Alliance’s coronavirus appeal will go towards food, water and medical care as well as providing soap, masks and vital information to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Irish Emergency Alliance is made up of ActionAid, Christian Aid, Plan International, Self Help Africa,Tearfund and World Vision. Between them the aid agencies have programmes in 85 different countries, giving the Irish Emergency Alliance the global presence, expertise and experience required to respond quickly to this and future crises.
Helen Keogh, Chair of the Irish Emergency Alliance, said the unprecedented scale of the global coronavirus pandemic motivated the six charities to come together to help those most in need.
“We have all seen the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis in Ireland, so you can imagine how much harder it is for people living in countries without enough doctors or nurses let alone enough ICU beds or ventilators. In countries without the safety net of furlough schemes, many who lost their jobs during the pandemic are now struggling to feed their families. The situation is even more critical in countries already struggling with the impact of conflict and buckling under the strain of massive refugee and displacement crises,” Keogh said.
“A lack of widespread testing in many developing countries suggests that we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg of the true scale of the global coronavirus crisis. What is clear is that some of the world’s poorest people are being pushed even further into poverty and disruptions to farming and supply chains risk severe food shortages. By working together, the Irish Emergency Alliance will reach some of the world’s most vulnerable people, giving them the supplies and information they need to keep safe from the virus.”
Expressing his support for the Irish Emergency Alliance, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy TD, said:
“The coronavirus pandemic is a challenge unlike any other and what will define us is how we as a nation respond. I am proud to see these Irish agencies combining their strengths at this critical time to reach some of the most vulnerable people in the world. I am sure the Irish people will continue their track-record of outstanding generosity even as they overcome difficulties here at home and support the Alliance’s efforts. Through the Irish Aid programme, I am pleased to say that my Department has already provided the member agencies of the Irish Emergency Alliance over €16m in 2020 to provide humanitarian and development assistance to the world’s most vulnerable communities.”
The Irish Emergency Alliance is modelled on similar joint appeal coalitions that operate successfully in the United Kingdom and across many European countries. By working together, the Irish Emergency Alliance can reduce fundraising costs to make donations stretch even further and has pledged to work together in this way in response to future humanitarian crises across the globe.
People in Kilkenny can support the appeal by donating at www. irishemergencyalliance.org or by calling 1 800 939 979 or by texting IEA to 50 300 to give €4.