February 10, 2012

Restocking Ethiopia’s cattle

By |10 February 2012|

By Makeda Yohannes/ECS Before drought struck Ethiopia in 2011, Mulu Jaletu owned five oxen, enough to help his farm support his 12 children. But with no rain falling, his crops would often fail. As his money ran out, he was forced to sell one ox at a time so he could buy food for his family. Eventually he had sold all of his oxen. Mulu and his older children had to walk four hours a day to work as daily laborers in the town center or on big farms. With those wages, they could only meet their basic needs—there wasn’t enough to save up for an ox for the next rainy season. Mulu gave up hoping. He thought he and his family would never be able to farm on their own land again. Other subsistence farmers in the town of Meki, in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region, were facing the same dilemma. Everything they [...]

December 15, 2011

East Africa after the Food Crisis

By |15 December 2011|

Your support helped over one million people in East Africa overcome their worst drought in 60 years. You made it possible for Caritas to distribute emergency food, create water projects, and give out seeds so farmers can rebuild. In November 2011, Caritas Communications Officer Laura Sheahen visited Kenya to see the community response in action. Explore the features below to find out how your support made a difference. When drought pits neighbour against neighbour “Herdsmen came here looking for pasture,” says Mwinzi Munyoki Tutu, a young farmer in southern Kenya. “We refused.” ‘You heard our cries’: hunger in East Africa “I met a woman who was crying because she couldn’t remember the last time she had seen so much food.” Seeds of hope after drought “When you’re hungry, if you have seeds, you start cooking.” Kotola Susana grins ruefully as he describes the situation of many of his fellow Kenyan farmers. Kenyan students back to school Alice had [...]

Photo gallery: fighting hunger in East Africa

By |15 December 2011|

“Mothers said their children were too weak to walk to the clinic,” says a nurse who treated malnourished people in northern Kenya during the worst of 2011’s drought. Throughout East Africa, poor rains led to hunger on a massive scale. By late 2011, your gifts had turned things around. Caritas immediately distributed emergency food, but also set up long-term projects that help villagers capture water and raise food even in drought times. Explore this gallery of photos from Kenya to see how you helped. Photos by Laura Sheahen/Caritas

October 20, 2011

No Plan B in Ethiopia

By |20 October 2011|

In Ethiopia, intensive care for cattle

By |13 October 2011|

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    East Africa food crisis a ‘tragedy of biblical proportions’

East Africa food crisis a ‘tragedy of biblical proportions’

By |12 October 2011|

Church and Caritas leaders discuss East Africa food crisis

By |7 October 2011|

Q and A Horn of Africa

By |6 October 2011|

What is the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa?  In Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and nearby areas, a severe drought has led to massive numbers of people going hungry. Famine has been declared in several districts of Somalia. Because goats and cattle are dying of thirst and starvation, people who herd livestock are losing their source of food. Hundreds of thousands of children are malnourished. The extreme weather has dried up crops, as well as rivers and other water sources. These losses come at a time when farming households’ food supplies are already extremely low, as they wait for their mid-year harvest to mature--if they were able to plant crops or have not used the seeds to feed their families. Sharply rising food prices--caused not only by the drought but by world economic conditions--have affected many impoverished people in the region, including those in towns and cities. What are people doing to cope?  Hundreds [...]

August 26, 2011

Caritas launches appeal to help drought-hit Ethiopians

By |26 August 2011|

Caritas is appealing for EUR 1,489,048 (US $2,149,143 million) to help Ethiopia during its most severe drought in 60 years. Four and a half million people in the country are in need of immediate food aid. Crops have failed, livestock have died, and water sources both for drinking and irrigation have dried up. “Caritas’ intervention will reduce people’s immediate suffering and help families withstand future droughts,” says Alistair Dutton, Humanitarian Director for Caritas Internationalis. He traveled to Ethiopia in early August. Caritas will reach over 65,000 people with emergency food and water, with a special focus on malnourished children and pregnant women. Caritas will pay people to build dams, trenches, and other infrastructure that will slow down rivers and streams. “The real tragedy of this drought is that enough rain has fallen this year but it has drained straight off the land, washing away much fertile topsoil with it,” says Dutton. “The new structures [...]

Caritas project brings water to drought-stricken community in Ethiopia

By |3 August 2011|

By David Snyder  His thinning white hair dyed orange in the traditional local style, Aden Esse Kan stands amid the swirling dust clouds of eastern Ethiopia, eager to talk about the drought that now plagues this region. An elder in the village of Togo Wuchale, a dusty half hour drive from the town of Jijiga, Kan summarises the problems facing his community, “The drought affects us in two ways – our people and our livestock,” Kan said. “There is no rain at all so we don’t have anything to eat.” Today across much of Ethiopia, where as many as 11 million people are in need of food aid, that is a distressingly common refrain. For traditional pastoralists like those from the Jijiga region, just sixty kilometers from the border with Somalia, the drought has devastated local grazing land, forcing many in the village of Togo Wuchale to drive their thinning herds further [...]

July 27, 2011

Ethiopia’s failing rains

By |27 July 2011|

By David Snyder You are not expecting rain when you come to cover a drought. But that’s what I found when I stepped off of the plane here Sunday—and what I have seen each day since. Rain. Looking around at the green of the hillsides, you could easily be fooled about the real problems facing the people here. But it doesn’t take much digging to learn how much trouble looms, where the rain now falling comes far too late to avert a crisis for as more than 11 million people. I spent yesterday visiting several projects around  Dira Dawa A, a zone of eastern Ethiopia that has been hard hit by the failure earlier this year of the first of the country’s two rainy seasons. With the failure of the short rains, which normally fall from February to June, millions were unable to gather a harvest. Worse still, they were unable [...]

Helping Ethiopia through drought

By |26 July 2011|

2011 is one of the worst droughts to hit East Africa and the Horn of Africa in living memory, including the east of Ethiopia. The local Caritas there is called the Hararghe Catholic Secretariat. It's part of the national Caritas organisation (the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat), and is supported by a number of Caritas members from around the world. Because drought is cyclic in this part of Ethiopia, the HCS has been working with the local communities to prepare them for drought. This can mean helping to provide irrigation and plants resistant to drought, insuring there is fresh water to drink and keeping food aid flowing when a crisis hits like now. Caritas Internationalis and one of its US members Catholic Relief Services (CRS) commissioned a photographer David Snyder to visit the Hararghe Catholic Secretariat in Ethiopia. This is a sample of his work. [slideshow]        

May 26, 2010

Church in Ethiopia to host climate justice conference

By |26 May 2010|

Climate change has a major impact on the availability of food and water. It particularly effects communities in hot zones with limited agricultural land and restricted access to water. Ethiopia is one such country. Landlocked in the Horn of Africa between Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan, Ethiopia is plagued by periodic drought. In an attempt to raise public awareness of this urgent problem, the Ethiopian Catholic Church is in the process of organizing an international conference entitled “Catholic Church Approach to Climate Justice – commitment for integrity of creation”. The conference, which takes place on June 2-4, 2010 in Addis Ababa, is intended to develop practical strategies for the local Church to actively participate in the issue of Climate Justice at national and global and levels. Nearly half of Ethiopia is mountainous and the available soil for farming has been degraded due to a long history of overgrazing, deforestation and poor agricultural [...]

September 26, 2009

Irrigation eases Ethiopia’s crop crisis

By |26 September 2009|

As we crest the mountain top, a sweeping view of emerald fields, soaring mesas and scattered farms spreads in front of us. It's difficult to believe that the farmers in the distance are facing a critical food shortage. As we wind down the hill though, we get a closer look at the fields and what Ethiopians call "green hunger." Corn stalks are one half the height they should be, and under the green tops are drooping brown leaves. Rip open an ear, and the inside rows of anaemic kernels grin up like ghastly smiles of broken teeth spaced much too far apart. Fields look green, but plants are withering from the bottom up. Failed rains in Ethiopia have led to a sharp rise in malnutrition rates. Caritas Internationalis is appealing for US$1.3 million to provide food, drinking water and medicines for 26,500 mothers and children for five months. Caritas is working through its [...]

August 17, 2009

Small steps to big changes in Africa

By |17 August 2009|

Rural communities in northern Ethiopia weren’t sure they could trust what they were hearing. How could anyone benefit by setting aside the equivalent of a few pennies each month? Come visit the Weini savings and lending group a year and a half later, and they are singing a new tune. At first, saving was slow. But month after month, the individual savings of the 25 members grew to the point that the group decided to invest in some poultry. Assigned members now care for six chickens, sharing half of the profits received from selling eggs or breeding chicks with the group. Take Brikti. With a loan of $30, she bought small amounts of food, like salt, sugar and peas. She now sells items each day from her tabletop store, using the profits to pay back her loan with interest and purchase basic supplies for her own family. Now the group is considering [...]