THE response from Berwickshire residents to an emergency appeal following last year’s drought in east Africa saved lives and is continuing to help people make a long term recovery.
Responding to the worst drought to hit the region in 60 years, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) and its partners and sister agencies in Caritas Internationalis provided emergency aid to communities in countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.
Over 10 million people were affected after a succession of rains failed, leaving crops dying and water sources dry.
Over 183,000 people received help from SCIAF following the extremely generous response to last year’s emergency appeal.
People from across the Scottish Borders raised a staggering £3,841, including £1,100 in Eyemouth and £836 in Duns.
This money helped pay for emergency cash payments, food and water to the most vulnerable, cash for work for the able-bodied to build up community resources like better wells, as well as replacing lost livestock and distributing drought resistant seeds to poor farmers to increase their resilience in the future.
Lorraine Currie, SCIAF’s head of international programmes, said its supporters had saved many lives.
“SCIAF supporters in the Scottish Borders have really pulled out all the stops and they donated a fantastic amount to last year’s Horn and east Africa drought appeal.
“This money and the emergency support it helped a great many people, and got people through what was a terrible crisis.
“Whilst the drought has now passed and the acute need of the people has dropped, SCIAF is continuing to work with its partners and local communities to increase their resilience against future droughts by distributing drought resistant seeds and rehabilitating community resources such as ponds and wells.
Lorraine summed up:“Our ability to be able to get aid to where it is needed quickly can mean the difference between life and death for vulnerable people.”