Timeline: A history of Concern

April 27, 2018

Concern Worldwide’s history is both a documentary record and a living history of some of the world’s most vulnerable people working to overcome disaster, hunger, and extreme poverty…with our help.

1968

Biafran Civil War

Biafran Civil War

In response to the hunger crisis during the civil war in Biafra (present-day Nigeria), Africa Concern is founded. Raising $6.5 million in 6 months, Concern buys a 600-ton ship, the Columcille, and sails to Biafra with food, medicines, and batteries.

1970

Cyclone Bhola Hits South Asia

Cyclone Bhola Hits South Asia

Cyclone Bhola hits East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), taking the lives of 500,000 people and sparking a civil war of secession from Pakistan. Africa Concern responds to the crisis, renaming itself “Concern” and, later, “Concern Worldwide.”

1972

Concern responds in Bangladesh

Concern responds in Bangladesh

As conflict displaces millions in the newly founded nation of Bangladesh, Concern launches a response. Concern co-founder Aengus Finucane, who helped coordinate the Biafra response, becomes country director in 1973.

1973

Ethiopia Famine

Ethiopia Famine

As a historic famine strikes Ethiopia, images of emaciated children again shock the world, and again Concern responds. Jack Finucane, brother of Aengus and coordinator the Biafra response, is named country director.

1978

Khmer Rouge Genocide

Khmer Rouge Genocide

As Cambodians flee the Khmer Rouge genocide and then a Vietnamese invasion, Concern starts an operation on the Thai border to meet the needs of a swelling number of refugees. Hundreds of thousands would remain there for over 13 years.

1983

Famine strikes Ethiopia again

Famine strikes Ethiopia again

Famine breaks out again in Ethiopia. Media coverage galvanizes worldwide support of aid efforts, including the advocacy of Irish entertainers Bob Geldof and Bono, who visit Concern’s operations and help organize Live Aid, a global concert event broadcast around the world to raise funds for the victims.

1984

Mozambique Civil War

Mozambique Civil War

Concern Mozambique opens in the midst of one of the deadliest and most intractable civil wars in Africa.

1985

Sudan Famine

Sudan Famine

Concern’s Sudan program opens as the hunger that gripped Ethiopia and the rest of the region continues to take a heavy toll.

1991

Liberian Civil War

Liberian Civil War

Concern’s Liberia program opens to meet the needs of returning refugees as the country stabilizes after several years of conflict, only to be wracked again by war in the succeeding decade.

1992

Indochina refugee crisis

Indochina refugee crisis

Concern arrives in Laos to help resettle returning Laotians who had fled their homeland during the Indochina refugee crisis, which resulted from the fallout of the Vietnam War and the rise of the communists in 1975.

1992

Somalia Famine

Somalia Famine

With a focus on treating malnourished children, Concern expands its programming when a massive hunger crisis strikes Somalia in the midst of intense civil warfare.

1993

Valerie Place Killed

Valerie Place Killed

Valerie Place, a 23-year-old staff nurse from Ireland, is shot to death on the road from Mogadishu to Baidoa in Somalia. Aengus Finucane escorts her body home on what he would call “the saddest journey of my life.”

1993

Conflict and Famine in Sudan

Conflict and Famine in Sudan

Concern’s Sudan program opens as millions flee civil war and fall victim to food shortages, extreme hunger, and malnutrition.

1994

Hurricane Gordon Hits Haiti

Hurricane Gordon Hits Haiti

Concern arrives in Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Gordon, focusing efforts on forgotten communities in Port-au-Prince, Saut d’Eau, and the island of La Gonave.

1994

Rwandan Genocide

Rwandan Genocide

Concern launches a massive regional response that will encompass Rwanda, Burundi, and DRC as millions are displaced by the Rwandan genocide and aftermath.

1995

Sierra Leone Civil War

Sierra Leone Civil War

Concern responds to the needs of people displaced by violence during Sierra Leone’s civil war.

1997

Concern Enters North Korea

Concern Enters North Korea

Concern begins a long-term commitment to meet the needs of the poor and hard-to-reach in North Korea who are beset by crop failures and harsh winters that lead to cyclical hunger.

1998

Hurricane Mitch Strikes Honduras

Hurricane Mitch Strikes Honduras

Concern mounts a short-term emergency response in Honduras, our first operational intervention in Latin America, after Hurricane Mitch causes catastrophic flooding.

1999

Kosovo War

Kosovo War

Concern enters Kosovo to provide emergency relief to people affected by the violence and later assists with reconstruction efforts after the war.

2002

Conflict in South Asia

Conflict in South Asia

As hundreds of thousands flee war in Afghanistan and internal conflict in Pakistan, Concern launches a comprehensive response to meet their water, shelter, and health care needs.

2004

Indian Ocean Tsunami

Indian Ocean Tsunami

Concern responds to the massive Indian Ocean tsunami by launching operations in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

2009

Passing of Aengus Finucane

Passing of Aengus Finucane

Aengus Finucane, after more than 40 years of service to Concern, including 16 years as CEO in Ireland and 12 years as honorary president in the US, passes away at age 77.

2010

Haiti Earthquake

Haiti Earthquake

Concern launches its largest ever emergency response in Haiti after a magnitude 7 earthquake takes more than 200,000 lives and displaces 1.5 million.

2010

Pakistan Floods

Pakistan Floods

Concern responds in Pakistan after massive flooding affects the lives of 20 million people.

2011

East Africa drought

East Africa drought

East Africa experiences the worst drought in 60 years, resulting in crop failures and food shortages. Concern responds in some of the worst-affected areas in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

2013

Syrian Civil War

Syrian Civil War

The violent sectarian war in Syria reaches a tipping point, with over 100,000 dead and 7 million displaced. Concern launches operations in northern Syria and Lebanon, focusing on providing clean water and shelter.

2013

Typhoon Haiyan Hits the Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan Hits the Philippines

After Typhoon Haiyan affects over 14 million people and displaces more than five million in the Philippines, Concern launches an emergency response to help fishing communities living on remote, hard-to-reach islands.

2013

Ebola Breaks out in West Africa

Ebola Breaks out in West Africa

Ebola sweeps through West Africa. In Sierra Leone, Concern manages two cemeteries to ensure the safe and dignified burial of victims.

2014

Conflict in the Central African Republic

Conflict in the Central African Republic

Concern begins operations in the Central African Republic, one of the world’s poorest countries, where sectarian violence has displaced over a million people and left many in need of emergency assistance.

2015

Earthquake Hits Nepal

Earthquake Hits Nepal

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes near Kathmandu and a series of aftershocks, including a major 7.3-magnitude tremor near Mount Everest, further rocks the country. Concern immediately sends an emergency team to respond to the humanitarian crisis.

2017

Passing of Jack Finucane

Passing of Jack Finucane

Concern co-founder Jack Finucane passes away at age 80, leaving a legacy of service with the organization that spanned several decades and countries.

2017

Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Concern provides life-saving emergency support on the Bangladesh border as more than half a million Rohingya refugees – a large majority of them children – flee Myanmar.