Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Agency helps 500,000 famine victims

Aid from an Irish humanitarian agency has reached refugees in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia (AP)

Aid from an Irish humanitarian agency has reached more than half a million people struggling to survive the famine in the Horn of Africa.

Concern Worldwide revealed it is already helping around 200,000 people in Somalia, 260,000 in Ethiopia and 100,000 in Kenya.

Public donations to Concern have already topped 2.6 million euro, with an estimated two million euro to Trocaire.

Tom Arnold, chief executive, said: "We are working 24/7 to scale up what we are doing to meet the challenges of this catastrophe. Having just returned from the region, I can testify that reaching half a million people is a significant achievement given the very difficult circumstances."

Aid agencies say the region's drought is one of the worst in years, affecting up to 12 million people in the Horn of Africa.

Thousands of Somali refugees are flooding into camps in Ethiopia and Kenya in search of food after several seasons without rain decimated livestock and killed crops in their homeland.

Concern this week received a shipment of shelter materials, cooking utensils and mosquito nets into Mogadishu, Somalia, from the Irish Government - which has also provided almost seven million euro in aid.

The charity is also running emergency feeding programmes in all three countries, as well as water and sanitation projects. To donate visit www.concern.net/drought or call 1850 410 510.

Mr Arnold continued: "The Irish public have once again been outstanding in contributing significantly to our response to this crisis and we'd like to thank them for that. But we'd also urge people to keep supporting us, as this crisis is not going away any time soon.

"At this point in time, it is clear that we still want to reach more people."

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