Covid-19 restrictions have meant people are unable to return Trócaire boxes to schools or parishes following Easter Sunday. As a result, Trócaire have urged people to make their Lenten contribution online or over the phone and to hold onto their boxes until a later date.

CEO of Trócaire, Caoimhe de Barra said, “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. 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.”

The virus is now present in 18 countries where Trócaire provides support. The agency is currently implementing an immediate response in seven countries. Further plans are being put into place to support other regions. Lenten funds are being used to provide hygiene kits, testing kits and information campaigns to support those affected by Covid-19.

Caoimhe de Barra explained, “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.”

There are serious concerns about the ability of countries in the developing world to fight this pandemic as many 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 2 ventilators for 12million 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.

Caoimhe de Barra said, “We are focusing on helping communities protect themselves from the virus. The public’s support for our Lenten campaign and this COVID-19 response work is vital.

“We are grateful to parishes nationwide who have supported us. We urge people to please keep a hold of your boxes with the intention of returning 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.”

People can support Trócaire’s work and Lenten 2020 campaign at trocaire.org/donate or phone 1850 408 408 (RoI) or 0800 912 1200 (NI). Please retain your Trócaire box to return donations to Trócaire at a later date.

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