As this year’s Lenten campaign comes to an end, Trócaire has urged the people of Cork to hold onto their Trócaire boxes until it is safe and possible to return them in support of the development agency’s COVID-19 response work in some of the world’s poorest countries.
While the agency’s Lent campaign continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Trócaire cancelled all their face-to-face events and outreach work last month.
Mallow native Tom Crowley of Trócaire explained: “Due to COVID-19, we had to stop all our public events and activities for our Lent campaign. That will unfortunately impact our crucial fundraising to support our work and we are still massively dependent on this campaign, which ends at Easter.
“Families in the world’s poorest countries need our support now more than ever. We are urging people to please keep a hold of their Trócaire boxes and return them when it is safe and possible to do so.
“In the meantime, we are urgently trying to save lives during the Coronavirus outbreak. Supporters can continue to make donations online or over the phone to fund this work. We know not everyone is in a position to support this work right now, but – if you can – any donation you can give will help us to support the world’s poorest communities through this terrible crisis.”
Trócaire is using funds to provide hygiene kits, testing kits, information campaigns and other support to vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19.
The virus is now present in 18 countries where Trócaire provides support, including some – Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – that are amongst the poorest places on Earth.
Trócaire’s Tom Crowley said: “Many communities where Trócaire works do not have essential but basic infrastructure to fight the virus. This means they lack access to clean water and social distancing is often not possible in overcrowded refugee camps and slums.”
Most countries do not have a functioning health service to respond to a mass outbreak of illness. Some worrying figures include: Malawi has one intensive care (ICU) bed for every one million people; Sierra Leone has no ICU beds; South Sudan has only two ventilators for 12 million people.
Trócaire’s experience in fighting previous outbreaks will be utilised in the battle against COVID-19. The agency’s teams delivered vital services to affected communities in countries such as Sierra Leone and the DR Congo throughout the Ebola crisis.
Trócaire’s Ebola response work helped hundreds of thousands of people with water tanks, latrines, water pumps, and chemical treatments to provide safe water. The last affected Ebola patient was discharged from care last month in the DR Congo.
Trócaire’s COVID-19 response work includes:
Setting up isolation wards and sanitation systems in Somalia.
Adapting humanitarian food distribution programmes to ensure improved hygiene in Honduras.
Support for quarantine facilities where people have access to running water, hygienic products and food in Sierra Leone.
In a number of countries, Trócaire has supported public messaging on radio and social media to raise awareness and prevent the spread.
Tom said: “The public’s support for our Lenten campaign and this COVID-19 response work is vital.
“We are grateful to everyone in Co Cork who has fundraised and collected coins over Lent. We urge people to please retain your boxes to return them at a later date. These generous donations will be put into action as we attempt to battle the Coronavirus in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.”
*You can support Trócaire’s work and Lenten 2020 campaign at trocaire.org/donate or phone 1850 408 408. Please retain your Trócaire box to return donations to Trócaire at a later date.