Donations from the Irish people to Catholic aid agency Trócaire’s East Africa Emergency Appeal have topped the €5.8 million mark it has been confirmed this week.
The appeal, which is tackling famine and extreme food shortages in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, is targeting 450,000 people.
Speaking this week Trócaire director Justin Kilcullen said, “450,000 people will be kept alive because of donations from the Irish public. Once again, Irish people have responded to a major emergency with generosity and empathy. I can assure them that every cent donated to this emergency appeal goes directly on life-saving supplies and restoring people's lives.”
Donations from the public have allowed Trócaire to up-scale food, water, health and livelihoods programmes in the region.
Health clinics supported by Trócaire in Southern Somalia, one of which was visited last month by the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, will be expanded over the coming days to treat 4,000 people each month.
Coupled with this, Trócaire has also confirmed that a food and water voucher programme, which has given 15,000 Somali people access to food and water over recent weeks, will be also expanded over the coming days.
A further 15,000 people are currently being registered, which will double the number of people benefiting from the scheme.
The organisation, as well as responding to the current crisis, is also helping in the area of safe birth delivery.
Trócaire-trained midwives are continuing to deliver safe birth in Southern Somalia.
Speaking on the current crisis and Trócaire’s work there, Justin Kilcullen said, “Fives areas of Somalia are already in famine and others will follow over the coming months unless relief efforts are dramatically increased”.
“Admission rates into our health clinics and nutrition centres have increased by almost 400% over recent months. Over 1000 starving children are being treated in 12 nutrition centres each month. This is three times the number of severely malnourished children that the program was supporting in January.”
He continued, “In addition, there is now a fear of a cholera outbreak, so we must pre-empt that by distributing water purification tablets to communities now.”
The aid agency has also announced that in Kenya and Ethiopia, a total of 249,000 people are participating in cash and food for work activities to meet their immediate food and nutrition requirements while at the same time building assets to protect their livelihoods.
Meanwhile Dóchas, which represents over 40 Irish agencies, confirmed that the Irish public has donated over €12 million to various charities dealing with the East African famine.
To date the State has also donated €5.6 million.