Ethiopian faithful

Aid to the Church in Need

Agency Dispatches Emergency Aid to Ethiopia: 8M Face Famine

Worst drought in 50 years is threatenting the lives of millions of people

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The story is not yet making headlines but Ethiopia’s worst drought in 50 years is threatenting the lives of millions of people. According to the UN, 8.2 million people are in urgent need of food aid, as close to one million have already left their homes in search of sustenance.
International Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACNUSA) has just dispatched $500,000 in emergency support to relieve conditions in 13 of the country’s famine-stricken dioceses.
“We are a pastoral aid agency, but we are prepared to respond to all of the needs of the Christian community and other vulnerable citizens—just as we are doing in conflict-plagued Iraq and Syria,” said ACNUSA Executive Director Sarkis Boghjalian, adding: “Especially in this Year of Mercy, the faithful in the West must stand with the poor all around the world.”
Current conditions may rival those of 1984, when a drought killed more than one million Ethiopians. While not all of the country is hit by drought and hunger, “the catastrophe can be felt everywhere,” Father Haile Gabriel Meleku, deputy secretary general of the Ethiopian bishops’ conference told ACNUSA.
Just before Christmas, the Ethiopian bishops released a statement blaming “climate change and environmental degradation” for the current crisis.
The prelates cited Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato SiI, as laying out the scenario being played out in Ethiopia: “Many of the poor live in areas … affected by warming and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture … They have no other financial activities or resoures which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters.”
Last fall, the UN launched an appeal for $350,000 in aid for Ethiopia, while an additional $750,000 is likely needed if the crisis persists. In 2015, ACNUSA spent more than $1.2M to support a range of Church-related projects across the country. There are some 600,000 members of the Oriental Ethiopian Catholic Church in a population of approx. 94 million.

Aid to the Church in Need is an international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries. (USA); (UK); (AUS); (IRL); (CAN) (Malta)

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