Catholics in England and Wales have raised over £2.5 million for the east Africa famine.
The money was donated through Cafod, the agency of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Cafod director Chris Bain said the sum was “a tremendous tribute to Catholic communities which – despite the economic hardships at home – have once again shown overwhelming generosity towards those in need”.
He said: “We have seen hundreds of schools and parishes organising fundraising events for the appeal with their customary imagination and enthusiasm and every day in Cafod’s head office I have seen the envelopes and emails coming in, and heard the phones ringing, with individuals giving whatever they can afford. It is important that those supporters know that every penny they have raised will go directly to fund the work of Cafod and our church partners in the East and Horn of Africa.”
The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) has also expanded its emergency response and has raised £625,000 by appealing to Catholics.
Catholic charities are now deeply involved in the famine region across Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Kenya, including a camp in Kenya where 2,500 people are arriving every day. About 10 million people across the region are affected by the worst drought in 60 years, with major shortages in food and water, crop failure and the widespread death of livestock. High levels of malnutrition are reported among children and hundreds of thousands of people are on the move.
The Pope has also urged the faithful to help. Praying the Angelus with about 3,000 people gathered in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father asked people to share their resources with “our many brothers and sisters who, in these days, in the Horn of Africa, suffer from famine aggravated by war and the lack of solid institutions”.