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Church World Service Responds To Ethiopia Famine, Wider Drought 

            April 26, 2000, NEW YORK CITY – Concerned to respond in time to the drought-induced famine menacing 15 million people across east Africa, Church World Service has launched an initial $1 million campaign for food aid and agricultural support for Ethiopia and projects a broader program soon. 

            More than 15 million people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania are facing a humanitarian crisis of serious proportions, according to the World Food Program.  The most seriously affected populations are farmers in southern and eastern Ethiopia, Somalia and northern Kenya.  In Ethiopia alone, more than 8 million people are severely affected, many of them women and children. 

            “If the international community can get supplies to their destination quickly, we are hopeful this famine will avoid the level of desperation it reached in the 1980s,” said Willis Logan, who directs the CWS Africa Program.   

Ethiopia’s churches stand ready and organized to respond quickly, he said.  In 1984, Ethiopia’s churches and two church-related international non-governmental organizations established the Joint Relief Partnership and have kept it operational.  This time around, the partnership proposes to cover the emergency needs of nearly 800,000 vulnerable persons -- roughly 10 percent of the Ethiopian government’s total appeal for help.  

The global ecumenical community, through ACT (Action by Churches Together), intends to raise $32 million in support for the partnership, including Church World Service’s $1 million.  Funds will cover both supplementary food aid and an agricultural component to assist survivors in re-establishing food reserves by providing seeds, fertilizers, farm tools, draft animals and pond excavation along with water and animal fodder. 


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