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CLWR responds to East Africa drought through Foodgrains Bank

July 14, 2011 No Comment

Although images of emaciated children have only recently hit the news, Canadian Foodgrains Bank member agencies including Canadian Lutheran World Relief are already responding to the severe drought affecting parts of Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Somalia.

Since May, the Foodgrains Bank, a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to end global hunger, has committed $2.4 million to help more than 46,000 people affected by the crisis.   

“The Foodgrains Bank has been monitoring the situation over the past months and is already working with people in need,” says Joan Barkman, who directs the Foodgrains Bank International Program.

A farming project in Ethiopia funded by CLWR and Canadian Foodgrains Bank

“We have a strong presence in Ethiopia and Kenya,” she adds, noting that “we are looking for ways to reach even more people.”

According to the World Food Program, 10 million people in the region require food assistance because of the drought, caused by lack of rain over the past two years. The drought is the worst to hit the area in 60 years.

In Ethiopia’s drought-prone Coro district, Canadian Lutheran World Relief supports 18,350 people with more than 1,900 tonnes of food, including wheat, beans, oil, and famix, a supplementary food product. Cyclical drought in this area, coupled with total failure of rain this year, has dried up water sources and damaged crops. Food will be distributed freely to those in need and through food for work projects that aim to conserve the area’s natural resources.

“Our congregations should pray for all people affected by such a difficult situation, for all Christians who live in those countries, to speak comfort from God’s Word and share compassion through their deeds,” noted LCC’s social ministry executive Rev. Dr. Leonardo Neitzel. A prayer is available online. He also encouraged gifts to the Foodgrains Bank to support CLWR’s work.

According to Sam Vander Ende, Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s field representative in Ethiopia, sparsely populated pastoralist areas are some of the hardest hit.

“After a couple of seasons of failed rains the cattle have nothing to graze on and they die, leaving their owners with nothing” says Vander Ende.

Lutherans wanting to help people in those countries can give by calling 1-800-665-4229, by donating online, or by sending a cheque to Box 767, Winnipeg, MB. R3C 2L4. Donations should be marked for East Africa Drought. You can designate your gift to Canadian Lutheran World Relief’s account with the Foodgrains Bank.

From a report by Canadian Foodgrains Bank