Six Irish charities form alliance to respond to Covid-19 in vulnerable communities

The group will assist countries ‘already struggling to cope with the impact of conflict and displacement’

Six of Ireland’s leading international charities have formed a new alliance to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and assist some of the most vulnerable communities around the world.

The Irish Emergency Alliance - made up of ActionAid, Christian Aid, Plan International, Self Help Africa, Tearfund and World Vision -will jointly raise money from the Irish public to assist countries who are "already struggling to cope with the impact of conflict and displacement".

The donations, the alliance says, will go towards food, water and medical care, as well as providing soap, masks and “vital information” to prevent the spread of the virus.

The coronavirus appeal will focus on vulnerable communities in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, all coping with the impact of widescale conflict, as well as Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon and the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh.


The alliance said it is focusing on these seven countries, as they are home to more than 17 million refugees and displaced people.

For people living in refugee camps or slums, it is nearly impossible to practice physical distancing, while a lack of soap and water inmany homes makes it harder to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the alliance added.

Helen Keogh, chairwoman of the Irish emergency alliance, said the unprecedented scale of the global coronavirus pandemic motivated the six charities to come together to help those most in need.

"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," Ms Keogh said.

“ In countries without the safety net of furlough schemes, many who lost their jobs during the pandemic are now struggling to feed their families. The situation is even more critical in countries already struggling with the impact of conflict and buckling under the strain of massive refugee and displacement crises.”

Ms Keogh added that it “is clear” that some of the “world’s poorest people are being pushed even further into poverty” as a result of the pandemic.

Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy, said he is proud to see the agencies "combine their strengths at this critical time".

“ I am sure the Irish people will continue their track-record of outstanding generosity even as they overcome difficulties here at home and support the Alliance’s efforts,” he added.

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times