But people are rallying together to support each other in whatever way they can.
The people Trócaire works with in the developing world are particularly at risk from this virus. Many of them have no access to clean water to wash their hands with. Many more live in crowded slums or camps where a virus can cause devastation.
They are defenceless against contracting the virus. If they do contract it, the medical care to treat them simply isn’t there.
Think about how this crisis has stretched European countries, including Ireland, to its limits. Now think about this:
- Malawi has one intensive care (ICU) bed for every one million people
- Sierra Leone has no ICU beds
- South Sudan has two ventilators for 12 million people
These figures brought home to me just how bad this crisis could get in the world’s poorest countries.
I lived in Malawi. It is a country I know and love. The people there are so warm, so generous and so kind. I can’t imagine the fear they are experiencing right now.
The Coronavirus has been confirmed in 17 countries where Trócaire works. We have never faced a crisis across so many of the communities we support.
It makes me so proud to see how our supporters are responding to this terrible situation. The Coronavirus knows no borders but neither does the love and compassion of people all over Ireland.
With your support, we are making a difference. We have already launched programmes to help keep people safe from this virus.
Our teams are on the ground getting vital messages to communities on how to protect themselves. In the weeks and months ahead, we will be keeping people safe and supporting those who fall ill.
Your support will make this happen.
As we approach the end of Lent, people would usually start returning their Trócaire boxes through their schools of parishes. This year, this won’t be possible, at least not yet.
If you have a Trócaire box, please hold onto it until such a time as it is safe and possible to return it.
But this crisis needs a response today. We know lots of people in Ireland are suffering. We know not everyone can donate at this time.
But if you can, we really need your help today.
Please consider making a donation online or phoning 1850 408 408 (RoI) or 0800 912 1200 (NI).
This crisis affects us all. But together we will defeat it.