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Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti

Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti – 11 Oct 2016

Last Tuesday Hurricane Matthew entered Haiti from the south-western coast, 230km southeast of the capital Port-au-Prince with violent winds near 220 km/h causing devastating impact, flash floods and mud slides. While all of Haiti’s 10 million people were affected by this storm, some 3-5 million are suffering while the most vulnerable are the 60,000 still living in camps set up for those displaced by the 2010 earthquake. 1,500 churches and schools opened their doors to provide shelter in preparation for the hurricane. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Before the earthquake in 2010, 77 per cent of the population were living in poverty.

Currently the death toll is estimated at 900 lives and there are fears of a cholera epidemic. 

In the image above there is a cross still standing in the centre and it reminds us of what we do at Tearfund Ireland - bring good news to the poor, material help and spiritual hope in some of the world’s most challenging situations.​ While this week Haiti is ​predominately on our minds and the suffering caused by the hurricane, we are reminded that it is one of many challenging situations​.​ The list is long and we are ​acutely aware of the great need of refugees spilling into ​countries ​surrounding​ Syria and the drought impacting ​​parts of Ethiopia​ putting millions of people at risk of severe malnutrition and famine​

We are receiving regular updates on the situation. In the meantime Tearfund Ireland and our Integral* partners are providing food and essential items on the ground in Haiti. The priority is to identify, together with community leaders, the most vulnerable households affected by this hurricane and to respond appropriately.

We would ask that you please pray for the people of Haiti and their needs right now which are:​

Safe access to food and fresh water with flooding and food stocks destroyed. 
Assistance with hygiene and sanitation, especially while there is serious risk of a cholera outbreak.
Shelter, with thousands of homes either destroyed or seriously damaged.
Agriculture and livestock. Crops have been destroyed and many cattle have been washed away.

Click here to download a prayer resource for your church, prayer group or Bible study.

If you would like to help Tearfund Ireland respond to challenging situations like Hurricane Matthew in Haiti​ the Refugee Crisis in the Middle East, and food crisis in Ethiopia,​ please consider giving a gift to our ongoing work.

*Integral Alliance are a global network of 23 Christian relief and development agencies from around the world, working together in 85 counties with 600 local partners

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A harvest of the heart can help put a stop to hunger

A harvest of the heart can help put a stop to hunger – 23 Sep 2016

It is frightening to think that Ethiopia and its surrounding countries are facing a food crisis as devastating as the one that made the headlines in the 1980s. While we celebrate the blessing of harvest time, countless people are suffering – so we are asking you to stand with our brothers and sisters in need and join us in making a real difference.

The situation in Ethiopia has tragically deteriorated in recent months. UN Special Envoy for Climate Change, Mary Robinson, visited recently. ‘This is an extraordinarily serious crisis and it is much worse than people realise.’ she said. ‘The impacts of climate change have weakened people’s ability to cope.’

Jesus calls us to where suffering and despair are greatest, to show people they are not forgotten, to support them and restore their sense of hope. With the threat of famine growing in Ethiopia and across the Sahel – huge numbers of people – women and children and whole families, are at risk of extreme hunger – this is a place where our response will be critical.

An estimated 10.2 million people need help, urgently.

In Ethiopia alone over two million children and mothers are already suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Triggered by El Niño, the drought is having a significant impact by limiting agricultural production, straining livelihoods, and intensifying food insecurity – especially for the poorest and most vulnerable people.

This is a place where your prayers and donations can make a life saving difference. We have already begun work in Wolaita and Sidama in the south-west of Ethiopia, areas which are priority hotspots in this current crisis – but we are depending on all of our supporters to be effective in our response.

If you can search your heart and consider supporting our harvest appeal, the change in someone’s life could be truly amazing. Tearfund has set up a system of self-help groups in Ethiopia where small groups of people, each one living in desperate poverty, are able to start making a living which puts their family on a far more hopeful course. Right now a gift of €35 can help provide a new self-help group with a facilitator to ensure the group is successful.

These incredibly vulnerable people are able to support each other financially and with mutual encouragement.

Members of existing groups have been more resilient to drought than some of their neighbours – but the size of the current emergency means that even they are in danger of losing everything they have worked so tirelessly for.

A harvest of the heart can help put a stop to hunger.

Please support our harvest appeal and support people to not only survive the famine, but also start to thrive. However you decide to give, through your prayers, a gift or a regular donation please know that you will be helping give families a way to transform their lives and escape hunger.

This harvest let us unite in prayer and ask God to impact the lives of people in Ethiopia and around the world – that they would have deep in their hearts, despite their suffering, a real sense of hope for the future.

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Emergency Crisis: Over 10 million impacted by Ethiopian Drought

Emergency Crisis: Over 10 million impacted by Ethiopian Drought – 7 Jul 2016

Ethiopia and surrounding countries face a crisis considered the worst the region has known since the 1980’s. It is estimated that 10.2 million people are in need of food assistance and 2 million children and mothers are suffering from severe malnutrition

Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for Climate Change is visiting the region this week:

“Despite the efforts of the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners, the impacts of climate change have weakened people’s ability to cope”

Tearfund Ireland is determined to strengthen Ethiopian communities so they are more resilient in the face of climate change and disasters such as drought. Key to our strategy is self-help groups, through which vulnerable people support each other financially and with mutual encouragement. Irish Aid is supporting Tearfund Ireland’s work in Wolaita and Sidama in the south-west of Ethiopia, areas which are also priority hotspots in this current crisis.

Members of existing groups have been more resilient to drought than some of their neighbours – but the size of the emergency means that even they are vulnerable to losing hard-earned resources.

While the media has been occupied with Brexit, an emergency of this magnitude affecting over 10 million people is forgotten. Let us not forget those who are in danger of losing their livelihoods, health and lives.

Please give what you can to our emergency fund today and help countries like Ethiopia stand firm in the face of disaster.

A gift of €35 will help provide a self help group facilitator in a rural area.

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Responding to the drought in Ethiopia

Responding to the drought in Ethiopia – 10 Jun 2016

One of our supporters Sam Cromie recently visited our Self Help Groups in Ethiopia. Read his letter to other supporters here:

Dear Friend,

As a fellow supporter of Tearfund Ireland I’m writing to encourage you about the difference you are making – through your prayers and gifts. I had the privilege of seeing first hand how effective their work is – and I would like to tell you about one place where your gift today can help shine God’s love where it is desperately needed. Right now Ethiopia is suffering its worst drought in 50 years. Countless families are enduring terrible hunger and need our help. The current crisis is the result of one of the strongest El Niño weather patterns on record.

As much as 75% of harvests have been lost and water shortages have claimed as many as a million livestock. This threatens to cause severe malnutrition in as many as 430,000 children.

I was born in Ethiopia and lived there until I was ten. Last year I had the opportunity to return, which was life changing – particularly as I was able to visit some of Tearfund’s self help groups. This project, set up by Tearfund through local churches, is an amazing solution to hunger. Protecting people from hunger – for life.

The self help groups target the poorest of the poor. They start off by saving a tiny amount of money every week, 50 cents or so, for six months. Then they take out their first loan, used to buy something for the family,maybe a chicken. When they’ve paid that loan back they take out a bigger loan and maybe set up a business for themselves. It’s a highly effective way in which grassroots churches are enabling the poorest members of their community to grow in confidence and skills – a sure-fire route out of poverty and hunger.

As a psychologist a lot of my research is exploring how to bring about effective change. What I’m interested in is: if I give a Euro I want that Euro to go to empower somebody, to lift them out of poverty, rather than just to feed them for a day.

One lady, Buzunesh joined one of the self help groups set up by Tearfund and it turned her life around. And it’s being replicated over and over – with the support of people like you– empowering more and more people to escape hunger and poverty for good.

I cannot encourage you enough to support this life changing work. In Ethiopia and around the world the very poorest of the poor are in the greatest danger from hunger – please keep them in your prayers.

Yours in Christ,

Professor Sam Cromie

School of Psychology
Trinity College Dublin

By supporting Tearfund Ireland with a gift today of €35 you will be helping people for life.
If you would like to donate to our work then please follow this link

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Syria enters its 6th year of conflict

Syria enters its 6th year of conflict – 15 Mar 2016

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the conflict in Syria. This conflict has been going on since the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. The conflict is now in its sixth year, with no end in sight. The situation has deteriorated into a humanitarian crisis on a global scale, has spilled into neighbouring countries and even European ones, and has become a threat to international stability, due to its complex social, political, economic and religious dimensions.

Tearfund Ireland has been working through local partners with the aim of meeting the humanitarian needs of people affected by the conflict in Syria. Focus has been on: food assistance through cash, food parcels or vouchers; provision of essential non-food items (NFIs) such as cooking utensils, bedding,
hygiene kits, blankets and heaters; formal and non-formal education as well as Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs); physical, mental, psycho-social and trauma care services; and support for housing as large numbers of refugees reside in urban areas, rather than camps.

At Tearfund Ireland, through our local church partners, God is using His church to bring hope and transformation. To be salt and light during these difficult times. Our hope is that we, the Christian church in Ireland, as well as churches overseas, can stand shoulder to shoulder to bring God’s hope and love to a broken world. Jesus came to proclaim good news to the poor and to set the oppressed free and we can be a part of that.

Join us today in praying for the ongoing conflict in Syria and in being a voice for those who are oppressed.

If you would like to donate to our work then please follow this link

Watch our latest video on how we are responding to children caught in conflict and crisis.

Above: A mother holds her baby at a 3 day trauma workshop in a church in Jordan. Many Syrian women have become single parents due to the war and struggle to cope as refugees. Run by a Tearfund local partner, these sessions help women to recognise and manage trauma in themselves and their families, giving them space to talk about their experiences with each other. Photo: Stella Chetham/Tearfund.

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Central African Republic-Hope in the midst of conflict

Central African Republic-Hope in the midst of conflict – 19 Feb 2016

The conflict in the Central African Republic has left 450,000 people internally displaced and 2.7 million people, more than half of the population, are in urgent need of food, water, sanitation and healthcare. The conflict has torn the country a part and yet it is one of the most forgotten conflicts of our time.

Tearfund Ireland supported by Irish Aid and working with 12 local churches and through our implementing church partners sought to improve food security by providing seeds for fast growing crops, distributing tools and providing training on farming techniques and soil conservation.

Agnes Gamanadji was one of the women who benefited from this project and in spite of her circumstances and the current conflict she has been able to rebuild her life. Agnes lives in Kapou, a village shaded by an edge of deep forest spread out along a clay road. She is 70 years old, married and a mother to seven children. Her husband is retired and the family survive as subsistence farmers. During the conflict, which began in December 2013, Agnes was threatened by rebel groups who arrived in her village. She was trapped in her house with her family for two days without anything to eat. The rebels hit and beat her. Her daughter died of a heart attack due to the sounds of the gunfire and fighting of the armed groups.

After violent conflict and fighting the rebels left the village; but Agnes was left with nothing. Before the conflict the family grew maize and other crops to survive. However, during the conflict, their crops were damaged and their seeds, tools and livestock were taken or destroyed. The family had very little money and life was very difficult; food was scarce.

In February 2015, Agnes and her family started receiving vegetable seeds, tools and training from Tearfund Ireland. Agnes started planting and developing her vegetable garden as soon as the project began and is now able to reap the rewards of what has been sown in earlier months. Through attending agricultural training, Agnes has been able to apply these techniques to successfully cultivate vegetables to meet the needs of her family and sell any additional produce in the local village market in Kapou.

This has had a transformative impact on the life of Agnes and her family. Before receiving assistance from Tearfund Ireland the family had little means of generating an income but now they can earn a weekly income which they can use to buy household essentials such as soap, salt, coffee and sugar for the family.

Not only does Agnes now have a means of generating an income, she also has a hope for the future, she is determined to keep going with her vegetable garden and is feeling more optimistic about the future.

Please pray for Agnes and the people of the Central African Republic as the conflict continues. Please also donate to our ongoing work so we can reach the places that are most forgotten about.

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