A NEW festive tradition began in Lisbellaw this week when local woman Libbet Irvine hung a sandbag from her fireplace instead of a Christmas stocking, to raise awareness of the hunger crisis in the South Sudan, hit by flooding.
Normally deployed in flood prevention, the sandbag is used as a reminder that extreme weather conditions exacerbated by climate change are a powerful driver of poverty and hunger, especially in flood prone countries like South Sudan.
In October, South Sudan experienced its worst flooding in nearly 60 years, forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Unusually heavy rains in recent months have caused the Nile to overflow, leaving vast swathes of rich farmland underwater. In addition to destroying homes, the floods killed livestock and destroyed crops, exacerbating a food crisis that put 2.4 million people at risk of starvation.
Libbet, who is a member of the Presbyterian Church in Lisbellaw, is the Enniskillen organizer of Christian Aid, coordinating the fundraising efforts of local churches. To date, local churches have raised around Â£ 130,000 to support the charity’s work to tackle extreme poverty. Originally from Dungannon, Libbet has lived in Lisbellaw all her married life and has two grown children. She was a teacher at Lisnaskea High School until her retirement.
Christian Aid is working through local partners to respond to the hunger and flood crisis in South Sudan. The association is providing life-saving emergency aid, including blankets, mosquito nets, water purification tablets and cash to families affected by the floods, as well as cash, seeds, agricultural tools. and fishing kits for families struggling to get enough food to eat.
Christian Aid Ireland CEO Rosamond Bennett thanked Libbet and everyone in Fermanagh who support the charity’s work to alleviate poverty in South Sudan and around the world:
âFor many years, Libbet has stood in solidarity with people living in desperate situations. This year, its âsandbag stockâ is helping to raise awareness of the impact of flooding on an already dire food crisis in South Sudan. “
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Posted: 9:22 AM Dec 26, 2021