Drought Threatens 11 Million in Horn of Africa

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, MARCH 27, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Eleven million people in the Horn of Africa, particularly in the Ethiopian regions of Somali and Oromiya, are in danger of dying of thirst due to prolonged drought.

The voice of alarm came directly from members of the Salesian International Volunteers for Development (VIS), in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, according to the news agency Fides.

During the 4th World Forum on Water, held earlier this month in Mexico City, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace presented a document entitled “Water, Essential Element for Life.”

Conflicts have already taken place for control over water and others might break out, indicated the text. It mentioned in particular the tensions that exist in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

The alarm mentioned by VIS in Ethiopia pointed out that the risk of dying from thirst is very real given the succession of several seasons of drought.

VIS volunteers are considering the possibility of digging five water wells, partly with funds from the Italian bishops’ conference.

Catholics comprise less than 1% of the country, though the Church is active through the network of its institutions.