The following are quotes from various news articles describing the severity of the drought in Ethiopia and its neighbouring countries. Note the articles talk as much about soaring food prices as the drought itself as reasons for the famine and hardship.
This is the worst drought in eastern Africa in decades. More than 12 million people in the region are in need of emergency assistance. Some two million children are acutely malnourished; 500,000 children are on the verge of starvation. Time is of the essence. Read more…
Anthony Lake, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)… highlighted the deteriorating situation in the region, saying it is a
“human disaster becoming a human catastrophe.”
“The situation is terrible now, tens of thousands have already died, more than 300,000 children across the region are severely malnourished and at imminent risk of dying,” he said. Read more…
The famine in the Horn of Africa is manmade — the result of artificially high prices for food and civil conflict, the World Bank’s lead economist for Kenya Wolfgang Fengler has told Reuters… The Horn of Africa is facing its worst drought in 60 years destroying crops, killing livestock and causing hunger and famine across parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda. Read more…
As the Horn of Africa continues to be ravaged by drought and famine, Vulnerable Children Society moved quickly this week to feed at-risk families in Ethiopia. All of the families and children enrolled in the House 2 House community support program have received bags of tef flour for drought relief.
Even though the drought has directly affected the southern region, food prices across Ethiopia have skyrocketed. This rapid increase in prices has had a direct impact on the ability of many low income families, already sponsored through Vulnerable Children Society, to purchase basic food supplies. As a result, the society, with its Ethiopian partner Faya Orphanage, has taken immediate steps this week to assist them.
Fifty children and families living in Adama, Wonji, Ambo and Guder are currently being sponsored through Vulnerable Children Society’s House 2 House program. Most of the children in the community-based program are HIV+ or have family members who are sick or HIV+ as well. The House 2 House child and family sponsorships take care of their basic necessities, which can include food, access to healthcare, medicine and school supplies.
Although Vulnerable Children Society’s sponsorships make a huge difference in the quality of these low income families’ lives, the current food price emergency has threatened the well-being of even middle income families in Ethiopia. House 2 House families are far more vulnerable to food price inflation and at much greater risk during this time, even given existing monthly sponsorship.
In the face of rising food costs, Vulnerable Children Society’s first priority was to support these families.
Within days of the society’s decision to move forward with a drought relief campaign, its Ethiopian partner Faya Orphanage delivered food to House 2 House sponsored families in four different Ethiopian communities. Each family received a large bag of tef flour from the community’s weekly local market. Tef flour is the main ingredient in Ethiopia’s national food staple called injera, a sourdough pancake eaten three times a day.
Vulnerable Children Society would like to express our deepest thanks to all donors for their continued generosity. It is your ongoing financial assistance that has allowed us to act immediately in this situation.
The local office of Women’s Affairs vets and identifies families who are sponsored in the House 2 House program. Currently, the House 2 House program has a wait-list of 50 additional at-risk children and families in the community who urgently need individual sponsorship. The well-being of these already vulnerable families has been rocked by this food price emergency. Children and families affected by HIV/AIDS who are waiting for sponsorship through Vulnerable Children Society are currently hungry and need assistance desperately right now.
Please continue to stay tuned to Vulnerable Children Society’s blog and Facebook page this week to learn more about donating to assist these vulnerable families who have been wait-listed for support in Ethiopian communities.
Written by Vulnerable Children board member Chris Ardern