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Climate change ‘causing displacement and poverty’

Positive trends in poverty reduction are being out-paced by the growth of conflict and the worsening of climate change, Trócaire said today at the launch of the organisation’s Annual Report for the year 1 March 2014 – 28 February 2015.

Eliyeta Muyeye and her sister Fortune Kalolo at the family's crops in Dedza, Malawi.

Farmers in countries such as Malawi are increasingly struggling to grow crops due to the impacts of climate change. Pictured: Eliyeta Muyeye and her sister Fortune Kalolo at the family’s crops in Dedza, Malawi. Photo: Jeannie O’Brien/Trócaire.

While there have been many successes in the battle against extreme poverty, the spread of conflict and the impact of severe weather patterns on food production and displacement are undoing many of the gains that have been made, warned the agency. 

Trócaire today announced that its development and emergency programmes have benefited approximately 2.4 million people directly in 24 countries over the last 12 months.

Éamonn Meehan said that conflict and issues linked with climate change are the dominant drivers of Trócaire’s programmes:

“Over the last 12 months Trócaire has brought vital aid and support to approximately 2.4 million people in some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world. Many of our biggest programmes are responding to the needs of people forced to flee their homes as a result of conflict. Our programmes in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Myanmar, South Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are providing vital supplies to people caught in the crossfire. 

“Climate change is also causing displacement and increasing poverty as droughts, storms and floods intensify around the world. Last February over 635,000 people were affected by flooding in Malawi, while prolonged periods without rainfall in countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe and Rwanda are making it increasingly difficult for farmers to grow crops.”

The Irish public donated €22 million to Trócaire’s non-emergency fundraising in 2014/15, the same amount as was donated during 2013/14.  A further €1 million was donated to specific humanitarian appeals, primarily appeals for the Ebola response in Sierra Leone and the response to the Gaza conflict. 

The Irish Government contributed €18.2 million to Trócaire’s work through Irish Aid. As in previous years, the Irish Government remains the single largest donor to Trócaire’s work contributing 31% of the organisation’s total income. 

Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan thanked the public in Ireland for supporting the organisation’s work:

“Throughout recent turbulent years at home, Irish people have never wavered in their commitment to supporting people living through injustice, conflict and poverty overseas. The €23 million donated to Trócaire by people in Ireland amounts to almost €4 for every man, woman and child on this island. That is an incredible testament to people’s commitment to the world’s poorest people.”

Examples of Trócaire’s impact during the 2014/15 period include:
•    110,000 people in Somalia supported with health, nutrition and education
•    47,050 people in Sierra Leone provided with support during the Ebola outbreak
•    288,811 people in Sudan benefited from medical care
•    37,000 people in Myanmar assisted with food and shelter
•    14,000 people in Iraq provided with emergency aid
•    785 human rights defenders in Guatemala provided with support

Trócaire’s two largest programme areas are livelihoods and emergency response. In 2014/15 the organisation’s emergency programmes benefited 1.1 million people directly and a further 3 million people indirectly, while the livelihoods programmes benefited approximately 795,000 people directly and 1.5 million people indirectly. Trócaire also operates programmes protecting human rights, supporting gender equality and working with people living with HIV. 

You can read the 2014/15 annual report online.

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