Tearfund Ireland responds to humanitarian emergencies caused by natural disasters, political instability and conflict. The world is facing an unprecedented number of humanitarian crises. More than 1.5 billion people live in countries that are experiencing fragility due to conflict or natural disaster (IA OWOF). In 2016 one person every second was forced to flee their home due to conflicts and disasters (GRID 2017) and there are now over 65 million refugees and internally displaced people worldwide. A growing proportion of the world’s poor are now living in what are known as ‘Fragile States’ (IA OWOF). Climate change, changing weather patterns and natural disasters are having a catastrophic effect on the poorest of our world, with 70% of the people affected by natural disasters living in Africa and Asia. The most vulnerable are paying the highest price of climate change.
Tearfund Ireland has over 10 years’ experience in responding to humanitarian crises. With support from churches and individuals in Ireland and through partnerships with churches and partners in the field, we responded to the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010 which killed over 250,000 people, the Ebola outbreak, extreme floods in Pakistan, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, and humanitarian crisis in CAR, the east African food crisis in 2016 and Cyclone Idai in March 2019. We also provide ongoing support to those affected by war and conflict in the Middle East, Yemen and South Sudan.
Tearfund Ireland is ready to respond to humanitarian emergencies and are there when a crisis hits, ready to act either through already established partnerships or through existing alliances with new partners. We also equip communities to be prepared for disasters before they happen; we help people work together to develop a plan, create and recognise early warning signs and know what to do when a disaster strikes. Ongoing development work and community based responses are critical for responding immediately and effectively to emergencies.
Tearfund Ireland has a particular focus on fragile states and ‘forgotten emergencies’. An increasing number of the world’s poor are living in countries experiencing instability and fragility as a result of conflict, weak governance, corruption and societal breakdown. People trapped in these situations face an increased risk of violence, death, ill-health, loss of livelihood, famine and war. Lifting yourself out of poverty in this context can seem next to impossible. These people are often forgotten by the world and these complex chronic situations rarely make it into mainstream media and news. Yet these are the situations where the need is greatest.
Tearfund Ireland’s approach of working in partnership through churches and with the most marginalised gives higher priority to these people and refuses to forget about them. We work in these situations to bring hope where there is despair, light where there is darkness and love where there is hate.
So the last shall be first, and the first last
Climate change is causing havoc to the world’s poor. It is estimated that by 2050 climate change and related disasters will put 1.3 billion people at risk (World Bank). The majority of people affected by climate change are those living in the poorest countries. These are also the people who have contributed the least to causing climate change, yet they are paying the highest price. The adverse effects of climate change are forcing more people to leave their homes than war and conflict. Our partner Vincent Moyo in Malawi tells us that when he was a child they always knew when the rains would come, now they have no idea. Changing weather patterns make it difficult to know when to plant crops, and unpredictable drought and rainfall is destroying crops and therefore livelihoods for the poorest of the poor. In 2016 the impact of the weather phenomenon El Nino, combined with a failed Spring and main harvest left 10.3 million people in Ethiopia in need of emergency food and nutrition assistance.
Tearfund Ireland is responding to the effects of climate change through its ongoing development work and response to humanitarian disasters. Watch HERE how our Self Help Groups in Ethiopia and training members in more sustainable farming practices and seeing families lives transformed.