Catholic TV and radio presenter Dermot O’Leary has urged the British public to donate to a coronavirus appeal for people living in some of the poorest countries in the world.
The X Factor host is backing UK aid agency CAFOD’s fundraising campaign so that those in developing countries hit by the pandemic “get some of the care and support we would want [for] our own families”.
He said: “Millions of people in developing countries face devastation from coronavirus and will be able to do nothing to stop it. They need all the help they can get.
“That is why I am backing CAFOD’s fundraising appeal.”
O’Leary has previously visited Sierra Leone with CAFOD where he met former child soldiers undergoing rehabilitation.
He added: “Some of the children I met when I visited Sierra Leone will be young adults with their own families now. I can only imagine what they are going through. Born into civil war, their country has just survived Ebola and now they are facing the coronavirus pandemic.
“Please give whatever you can and help CAFOD’s local experts deliver food, provide clean water and train community leaders to help save lives.”
Christine Allen, CAFOD’s director, said: “The potential scale of the coronavirus pandemic across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East – as well as among refugee and displaced populations in places such as Syria, South Sudan and the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh – is truly frightening.
“Aside from the many deaths that are likely due to infections, millions of people around the world who already struggle to feed their families will face extreme hunger and poverty.
“We are so grateful to Dermot – a life-long supporter of CAFOD – for backing our appeal and giving a voice to the voiceless.
“Our local aid experts are already responding. You can too. Please donate at.”
According to the UN over a third of households in Africa have no access to handwashing facilities, and almost another third has limited access with either no water or soap.
Millions of lives are at risk, with estimates that between 300,000 and 3.3 million people could lose their lives as a direct result of coronavirus (UN Economic Commission for Africa Covid-19 in Africa Report, 2020).
You can support the appeal at www.cafod.org.uk
Picture: Dermot O’Leary travelled to Sierra Leone with CAFOD in 2004. (CAFOD).