Northern Ireland news

'Hunger pandemic' threatens 270 million people this Christmas, warns Trócaire

Northern Ireland Head Siobhan Hanley launched the charity's Christmas Appeal at St. Mary's Church in Belfast. Picture by Justin Kernoghan

COVID-19 and drought have combined to produce a potential Christmas `hunger pandemic', a charity has warned as it hopes Northern Ireland donations will help alleviate distress around the world.

Head of Trócaire in the north Siobhan Hanley said a "a perfect storm" has left 270 million people facing crisis levels of food shortages, as she launched the annual Christmas appeal.

"That is double the number of people needing immediate assistance this time last year.

"The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating for the world's poorest people. People haven't been able to plant crops, sell goods at local markets or access school feeding programmes."

She said people in countries like Somalia "are incredibly resilient", having already overcome decades of conflict and worsening drought.

"They are experts at surviving crises not of their making, but with the next harvest not due until April at the earliest, people need urgent support.

"The next five months are going to be like nothing we have seen before. Hunger is the next pandemic the world is facing, only this time we know what the vaccine is.

"Support for Trócaire’s Christmas Appeal will provide a lifeline to families this Christmas."

Donations can be made at or calling 1850 408 408 (RoI) and 0800 912 1200 (NI).

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