One month after the earthquake hit Haiti and killed 230,000 people, Trocaire’s director Justin Kilcullen has thanked the people of County Mayo who contributed significantly to the €3.5 million the agency has already received in donations to help people there. Some three million people are in need of food aid.
However, Mr Kilcullen pointed out that even before the earthquake, almost two million Haitians did not have enough food, which made them even more vulnerable when the disaster struck.
“More than half of Haiti’s nine million people live on less than one dollar a day,” he said. “Thanks to the support of people in Mayo and around the country Trocaire’s long-term work in Haiti will help families to recover from the quake and look at ways of eradicating long-term hunger.”
Mr Kilcullen was speaking at the launch of the agency’s annual Lenten campaign on hunger, which he hopes will raise €12 million to support work which helps thousands of families in the developing world to grow more food and increase their incomes.
Mr Kilcullen said high profile crises such as natural disasters and war are responsible for fewer than eight per cent of hunger’s victims. There are now 1.02 billion hungry people in the world. That is one in six people, more than the combined populations of the European Union, the United States, and Canada.
The bitter irony, he said, was there is enough food in the world to feed everyone. “Most of the hungry are in poor rural areas and they have been abandoned. They don’t have the resources or support to produce enough food and they don’t have the money to buy it.”
Five million children under the age of five die from hunger and diseases caused by hunger every year - that's one child every six seconds.
“In 2000 we said we would halve the number of hungry people by 2015. Have we made progress? No. The number of hungry people has actually increased over this decade and now it’s the highest it has even been – with one in six people in the world hungry. We have seemingly learned to tolerate the intolerable,” said Mr Kilcullen.
He praised the generosity of the people of Co Mayo, who continue to give to Trocaire despite economic difficulties in Ireland. “I am confident that the loyal support given by communities and parishes to the developing world will continue this Lent, and people will do what they can to fight the scandal of hunger,” he said.
To find out more about the campaign or to order a Trocaire box call 1850 408 408, log on to www.trocaire.org or contact your local parish.