A NEWS RELEASE
From Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA)
Winnipeg, January 10, 2003, (ELCIC) -- Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) has launched an appeal to help Ethiopians in the grip of near-famine conditions brought on by drought.
International aid agencies are warning that the country faces a famine worse than that of 1984 which killed nearly one million people and sparked an international relief effort. An estimated 10 to14 million people are currently facing a famine.
Drought and malnutrition are a regular occurrence in this country, but in recent weeks aid workers and the Ethiopian authorities have begun sounding the alarm with growing intensity. More people face starvation now, they say, than two decades ago. Cattle are dying and other food stocks are being rapidly depleted.
Over 80 percent of Ethiopia's 64 million people depend on small-scale agriculture. This reliance on one sector of the economy continues to leave the country vulnerable to the effects of drought, says Sophie Gebreyes, a spokesperson for CLWR
However, there is abundant water in the country and proper management can help ensure people have enough to eat during the hard times. Since the famine in the mid-1980s, CLWR, with the support of Canadian farmers, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), have helped construct 133 small-scale irrigation schemes in Ethiopia.
It is part of a joint Mekane Yesus Ethiopian Evangelical Church -- Lutheran World Federation initiative that has helped irrigate approximately 32,000 hectares of land. "As a result, 97 percent of the people in these project areas are not in need of food at this time," says Ms Gebreyes. Donations will help build more such projects and enable people to more easily survive the next drought.
ELCIC members can help by making a donation to CLWR through the Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA). Donations designated for Ethiopia famine relief will be forwarded in their entirety to CLWR in support of existing long-term development aid like irrigation and community development projects. This will enable Ethiopians to help themselves during difficult times.
Donations can be made through regular congregational offerings marked “GHDA -- Ethiopia Famine Relief” or on line at www.elcic.ca/ghda. GHDA respectfully requests that donations made to this Appeal be considered “second mile” gifts so that projects already underway in many countries around the world will not suffer reduced funding. GHDA also encourages ELCIC members to contact their Member of Parliament to ask what relief the Canadian government plans to offer the starving citizens of Ethiopia and other countries in Africa.