Ireland's top international aid charities join forces for Covid battle

Ireland's top international aid charities join forces for Covid battle

A health worker takes a nasal swab from a patient to test for Covid at the Masiphumelele community centre in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: AP 

Six of the country's leading international aid charities are joining forces to respond to the worsening global Covid-19 pandemic in some of the world's poorest countries.

The new Irish Emergency Alliance is made up of ActionAid, Christian Aid, Plan International, Self Help Africa, Tearfund, and World Vision, which between have programmes in 85 countries.

They hope to jointly raise money from the Irish public and respond in countries facing rising coronavirus cases, which, in many instances, is exacerbating existing problems linked to poverty, hunger, conflict, and displacement.

The coronavirus appeal will focus on communities in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan, as well as Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, and the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.

Helen Keogh, chairwoman of the Irish Emergency Alliance, said the unprecedented scale of the pandemic had prompted the coming together of the aid agencies. 

“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," she 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.

Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy said his department has already provided the member agencies of the Irish Emergency Alliance with over €16m in 2020 to provide humanitarian and development assistance.

As part of its fundraising efforts, the alliance is asking for donations at irishemergencyalliance.org or by calling 1800 939979 or by texting IEA to 50300 to give €4.

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