This year, Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal is asking people across Northern Ireland to support communities in South Sudan, who are facing crippling hunger and poverty. Donations made to Christian Aid’s Christmas appeal between 6 November 2017 and 5 February 2018 will be matched by the UK Government up to £2.7 million.
CEO of Christian Aid Ireland, Rosamond Bennett, recently returned from South Sudan. There she witnessed the hopelessness and hunger faced by millions in the conflict-torn country.
“In South Sudan, I witnessed intense poverty. In the villages I visited, people are eating just one meal a day, made with only one ingredient. After months and months of living like this, energy levels are low and many people, especially children, are suffering from malnutrition.
“Seeing how hungry and malnourished some of the babies are and then the pain in their mother’s faces, who know they have no food for them, was devastating. Some of the people told me that they know they won’t be here next spring. Recent heavy rains destroyed their crops, which they were depending on. They said, Christmas is non-existent for us this year.”
More than three years of devastating conflict in South Sudan has forced nearly four million people from their homes, disrupted harvests, caused soaring food prices and the economy has collapsed. Half of the population urgently need food.
Ms Bennett added: “Hunger is not inevitable. There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, yet people are still going to bed hungry. Christian Aid Ireland is working in South Sudan to provide vital, life-saving supplies to families and communities, but we urgently need more help to reach to the most vulnerable.
“We have been giving people vouchers to buy food and other essentials with support from Irish Aid, and tools and seeds to farm. These have been life-saving. People told me that they wouldn’t have survived without the vouchers. They can buy the food they need, but also pay for vital medical needs.
“The crisis in South Sudan reached unprecedented levels when famine was declared earlier in the year. If left untreated, acute malnutrition, the most extreme form of food crisis, could lead to death. And unfortunately, for the people of South Sudan, it is anticipated that the crisis will be on an even worse scale next spring.
The people of Banbridge have always been so generous and your support throughout the year is very much appreciated. This Christmas we’re asking the kind people of Banbridge to consider helping us to reach even more people in South Sudan and in counties like Burkina Faso and Malawi, who are facing hunger and food shortages. Any support for our ‘Enough for Everyone’ Christmas appeal would be hugely appreciated.”
For every pound given to Christian Aid’s Christmas Appeal, the UK Government will also give a pound. That’s double the support for people living in poverty. The UK Government’s match, will fund our work in South Sudan.
To support Christian Aid Ireland this Christmas visit christianaid.ie or call 02890 648133.