Caritas is launching a new appeal to continue its lifesaving work in drought-stricken areas of Ethiopia. Its programmes will help farmers and herders produce more food, and will also improve water systems and infrastructure in remote areas.
“The drought was at its worst in 2011, and its effects are still being felt in some parts of the country,” says Shiferaw Mamo, Social Development Programme Coordinator of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (Caritas Ethiopia). “We can’t let up our efforts now.”
The belg (small) rains expected in the first half of 2012 were poor, resulting in ongoing food problems in many farming areas. The government of Ethiopia recently indicated that approximately 3.76 million people require food assistance from August to December 2012.
Caritas’ new programme, which is targeting more than 60,000 families, will give sheep, goats, cattle, bee colonies and chickens to families who lost livestock during the drought. To conserve the limited water […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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
The food crisis in East Africa hit the headlines over the summer. Resources were mobilised around the world to support communities in need as drought in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia put millions of people in peril. Val Morgan of SCIAF (Caritas Scotland) reports from southern Ethiopia that although the news attention may have moved on, the suffering remains. By Val Morgan What it is like to be hungry and facing a slow death by starvation? What it is like to see our family’s assets disappear, our children lose weight and our spouse join us in worrying how bad the future might just get? In early October 2011, I was brought a bit closer to these realities when I visited southern Ethiopia. The situation is truly desperate. People are going hungry, cattle are dying in large numbers, water sources and grazing land have all but disappeared, and the people don’t know […]
By Val Morgan, Media Officer for SCIAF On some days in the field, I almost despair. It was a red-hot morning and we drove two hours to see a cattle feeding centre and destocking programme in Miyo, a village in southern Ethiopia. The more we drove the drier the landscape became until eventually it was totally barren, just dust and stones. As we arrived at our destination on the top of a hill there were panoramic views all around us. I was told that three years ago this area used to be a vibrant area for farmers and herders with crops and precious grassland on the hills all around me. Now there was nothing. We met our local guide, a young man from our partner, GPDI. He started by telling us about the animal feeding centre which SCIAF (Caritas Scotland) is supporting. It may seem strange to be feeding animals […]
Ken Hackett, President of Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas member in the USA), spoke about the Horn of Africa food crisis at a press conference held in Rome on 7 October. Having worked in East Africa for over 35 years, I am deeply saddened to witness a tragedy of biblical proportions unfolding again. I thank the Holy Father for calling the Church’s–and the world’s–attention to the plight of hungry and distressed people across the Horn of Africa. Catholic Relief Services, along with local Church and Caritas organisations at the diocesan and national levels, as well as non-Catholic groups and host governments, have been helpful in bringing short- and long-term interventions to families in distress. In response to the situation facing the people of the Horn—including Somalis both in Somalia and those who have had to flee to neighbouring countries for safety—CRS has committed to expanding our long-term development and immediate […]
“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters.” It’s a phrase known to Christians around the world, one of the most beloved verses of a beloved psalm. It was the psalm Pope Benedict XVI referred to during his weekly audience Wednesday 5 October which ended with an appeal to the world not to forget East Africa, where drought has turn green pastures brown and made water scarce. Crops have failed; herdsmen have watched their goats and cattle grow thinner and die. Tens of thousands of families walked for weeks to reach refugee camps, or anywhere with water.
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?
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 […]
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 […]