A LOCAL woman who recently returned from Kenya has urged people to support church collections which will take place in Lucan and throughout the country this weekend.
Trocaire, the overseas development charity, says that 25 million people in east Africa are facing starvation in the coming months and millions could die unless they receive immediate assistance.
Lucan woman Niamh McCarthy recently visited the worst affected areas of northern Kenya and has urged people to get behind the appeal.
She said: “With the failure of successive rains and a prolonged drought having taken hold of the region, just surviving has now become the main challenge facing the people of east Africa.
“Millions of people in the region are facing starvation. The crops have failed, and animals are dying because of a lack of grazing and water.”
The United Nations has described the situation in the drought-ravaged parts of Africa as the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War and Niamh said that the work on the ground is vital in supporting the people affected.
“Trocaire is working on the ground and providing vital aid to hundreds of thousands of people. We are targeting particularly vulnerable groups including the elderly, people with disabilities and those living with HIV.
“Our health centres in Somalia are treating 19,000 people each month for malnutrition and associated illnesses.
“We are also supporting health clinics in places like Turkana in northern Kenya, where 12% of children under the age of five are severely malnourished, and at immediate risk of death.
“The clinics weigh and examine the children and the mothers of those who are identified as high-risk are given a high-protein, high-vitamin supplement to feed them.
“What we are providing at the moment is quite literally life-support for people.”
She added: “In the coming months in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia, Trocaire is hoping to reach hundreds of thousands more people with emergency food, water and drought tolerant seeds but this can’t be done without the generosity of people in Lucan and across the country.
“I would urge parishioners to please give what they can to the church collection,” said Niamh.