Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra has said that a "hunger pandemic" will be faced by low income countries in 2022.

Ms de Barra was speaking after she thanked the Irish people for their generosity to this year's appeal, but warned that humanitarian needs are set to escalate due to the compounding impacts of Covid-19, climate change and conflict which may damage food security.

"Across Trócaire programmes in 20 countries we are witnessing and responding to the devastating triple impact of Covid, climate change and conflict.

"Due to Covid lockdown measures people have not been able to travel to markets to sell their goods, go in search of daily labour to earn their living, or plant crops. The result is there is no money for food."

Ms de Barra said that the number of people unable to access food is expected to rise dramatically next year, while the United Nations reported that Covid-19 has already triggered a dramatic worsening of hunger with 10% of the global population (811 million people) undernourished last year.

In Somalia, the population is experiencing its third consecutive below average rainfall season since late 2020.

Most of southern, central and northeastern Somalia has experienced little to no rainfall since June, resulting in drought that has left millions short of food.

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is putting the lives of millions around the world at risk along with putting huge pressure on health systems.

Ms de Barra said that global vaccine inequity must be addressed, along with the political drivers of conflict to respond to Covid-19 in a way that means no one is left behind.

"All this requires political will and a belief that all of humanity has the right to aspire to the same quality of life."

"While Ireland and richer nations are ramping up their Covid-19 vaccine booster programmes, the world's poorest countries are still way behind.

"A crucial step towards redressing the global vaccine inequity is to grant a temporary patent waiver for Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing, allowing countries to produce their own generic versions of vaccines.

"The Irish Government should join other states in supporting a TRIPS waiver and to use its influence within the European Union to change the EU's blocking position at the World Trade Organization, in order to facilitate the urgent scaling up of global supply of life saving vaccines."

Ms de Barra said that thanks to support through public donations and the Government through aid, Trócaire can continue tackling the root causes of poverty, injustice and violence.

"This year Irish people showed once again that no matter the pressures they are facing here at home they are always willing to turn their compassion into action, supporting people to live with dignity, justice and freedom from fear. For that we are truly grateful."