Sunday 19 November 2017

'We can't live like this' - storms and flooding force a community to flee

'Unprecedented' crisis for the world's poor as Trócaire box appeal begins

Miriam Maribel Campos Pérez with her daughter Maria José (8) Photo: Frank McGrath
Miriam Maribel Campos Pérez with her daughter Maria José (8) Photo: Frank McGrath
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Miriam Maribel Campos Pérez (31) lives with her eight-year-old daughter Maria José in the coastal village of Cuyamel sandbar in Honduras.

The community is under threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change. To compound the problem, in 2009 an earthquake caused the land to sink, meaning it is especially vulnerable to storms and regular flooding is now the norm.

Last January, a storm swamped the home they share with Miriam's parents, her two brothers and a nephew, forcing them to flee for their lives.

"The problem started around noon, but started to get worse with timber coming in with the waves," Miriam, a teacher, said.

"The waves went through the house, and some of the furniture and beds were ruined. We had to run away with my family. We were very sad and worried because everything had to be left behind.

"I want to move out because we cannot live here any longer. The sea comes frequently. We can't grow crops. I can't live like this but I have no other place to go and live permanently."

The community in Cuyamel is one of many being assisted by aid agency Trócaire, which launches its annual Lenten fundraising campaign today.

Miriam and Maria are pictured on the Trócaire box, and the agency's project in the village keeps people safe by providing for evacuation while campaigning for access to safer homes.

The agency is targeting offering humanitarian relief for up to one million people in 2017, saying the scale of humanitarian need is "unprecedented".

More than one million children in South Sudan face immediate risk of death unless food aid is urgently delivered.

"The scale of humanitarian need in the world is unprecedented," executive director Éamonn Meehan said.

"Over 70 million people will require emergency food aid this year, while the number of people displaced from homes is at its highest level since World War II."

Schools, communities and parishes will come together over the next six weeks to pledge their support for the poorest people in the world. The Lenten campaign, which is in its 44th year, has transformed the lives of millions of people around the world.

For more information, visit Trocaire. Donations can also be made to Trócaire at AIB, 7-12 Dame Street, Dublin 2. Account number 98861116, sort code 93-20-86.

Irish Independent

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