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A group of people from Bububu village in Wenje Parish on the Tana River in southern Kenya displaced by floods, each of whom is trying to save whatever they can carry. All their belongings were swept away apart from what they carry in the photo. The Spiritans coordinated with the Kenyan Red Cross to provide emergency rations of food to families affected by the floods. Photo: The Spiritans.

Humanitarian crises across the globe are now affecting more people and are lasting longer than in previous years. In 2018, we funded 34 emergency projects (eight more than 2017) to a total value of €505,366 (up from €365,967 in 2017). Compared to 2016, this represented a 100% increase, in terms of the number of projects funded and the overall funding amount. The 34 projects supported spanned 11 countries and reached 50,995 people.

More than a million people live within 30 kilometres of the active Volcán de Fuego volcano, near Guatemala City. On June 3rd, 2018, the volcano erupted almost without warning, killing at least 190 people and destroying homes and crops. The Good Shepherd Sisters, already working in communities affected by the eruption, were able to assist 200 women, children and men, providing them with food, cleaning kits, bedding and clothing. They also provided psychological support and created resilience spaces for children to assist them to return to education as quickly as possible.

Our members also responded to the complex hunger crisis in East Africa driven by drought, flooding, conflict and political instability, which has left over 26 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda in need of life-saving assistance.

In India, heavy rains in August led to severe flooding across the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu (see Case Study). Over 32 million people were affected, with homes and crops wiped out. Six Misean Cara members responded, providing emergency relief to victims of the flood disaster. The focus included delivering food, emergency shelter and emotional support.

Political unrest and uncertainty in Venezuela from 2014 onwards has led to over two million people leaving the country and seeking refuge in the region. Over 450,000 Venezuelans travelled to Peru, where Edmund Rice Development sought Misean Cara support for 50 particularly vulnerable individuals eking out a precarious existence on the streets of San Juan de Lurigancho in Lima.

In large and complex emergencies, our members work with the local government, United Nations and other aid agencies to avoid duplication of effort and ensure there are no gaps in the response. Because of their close integration in communities, missionaries are able to reach the most marginalised and at-risk families.