By Sean Ryan - 11 March, 2017
Aid has delivered so many success stories. Unfortunately, the spread of conflicts and the worsening impacts of climate change are increasingly out-pacing those efforts.
Millions of people around the world have been lifted out of poverty because of the generosity of Irish people, according to the Executive Director of Trócaire Éamonn Meehan.
Schools, communities and parishes will come together over the next number of weeks to pledge their support for the poorest people in the world.
The 44th Trócaire Lenten campaign highlights the scale of humanitarian need across the world. The family pictured on this year’s Trócaire box is from a village in Honduras that faces regular flooding from storms and rising sea levels.
Trócaire’s project in the village keeps people safe by providing for safe evacuation while supporting their campaign for access to safer homes.
The organisation is also responding to humanitarian crises around the world, including in South Sudan, where the UN last week declared a famine. Trócaire is providing emergency food and water to people in South Sudan, and donations to this year’s Lenten campaign will help the organisation expand its projects aimed at tackling hunger across the region.
According to Éamonn Meehan, “The scale of humanitarian need in the world is unprecedented. Over 70 million people will require emergency food aid this year, while the number of people displaced from their homes is at its highest level since World War II. With the support of people in Ireland, Trócaire will deliver humanitarian aid to up to one million people in crisis this year.”
Speaking about the global situation, he said “The situation in South Sudan is a catastrophe and set to worsen significantly over the coming months. Over 4.5 million people do not have enough food to eat and there is no prospect of that improving until August at the earliest. Over one million children are at risk of death unless they receive urgent food aid.”
He added: “Unfortunately, the international response to the crisis has been very slow. Appeals are under-funded and unless funding is made available people will die. Donald Trump’s proposal to dramatically increase military spending will very likely be at the expense of funding humanitarian programmes. More money for guns, tanks and bombs in a world already full of military hardware and less money for the poor and vulnerable.”
The crisis in South Sudan has been caused by a combination of conflict and drought. Trócaire’s Lenten campaign highlights how the rise of these two issues is threatening to undo much of the progress made to lift people out of extreme poverty over recent decades.
“Millions of people around the world have been lifted out of poverty by Irish people’s generosity over the last 44 years,” said Éamonn Meehan. “Aid has delivered so many success stories. Unfortunately, the spread of conflicts and the worsening impacts of climate change are increasingly out-pacing those efforts.
“The percentage of the world’s population living in extreme poverty has fallen, but for the poorest of the poor life has never been so challenging. Worsening droughts are making it impossible to grow food, while prolonged conflicts have left generations growing up in camps with little prospect of returning home.
“Much of our work is focused on delivering aid and support to people trapped in conflict or left hungry by drought. These are two major global challenges of our time.”