The Ethiopian government says more than 10 million people need emergency food aid because of drought.

CNS PHOTO | PATRIK EKLOF, COURTESY NRC

The Ethiopian government says more than 10 million people need emergency food aid because of drought.

January 25, 2016
MICHAEL SWAN
THE CATHOLIC REGISTER

As the worst Ethiopian drought in 60 years threatens as many as 20 million people living in Africa's second largest country, Catholic aid agencies in the desperate nation are asking for help as the crisis continues into 2016.

"We can do more if more resources are available," CST-Together country representative Patricia Wall said in an email to The Catholic Register. "The needs are enormous."

CST-Together stands for Catholic Social Teaching Together and is a joint project of three Catholic aid agencies in Ethiopia - Ireland's Trócaire, Scotland's SCIAF and England's CAFOD.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace frequently cooperates with CST-Together on development projects.

Wall said at least 10 million people need urgent support.

Ethiopian and United Nations officials expect that number will grow to 20 million by spring. One of the strongest El Nino effects ever recorded is blamed for an almost total failure of spring and fall rains in Ethiopia.

The worldwide Caritas network launched an appeal for $2.3 million in August.

CCODP HELPS

Development and Peace responded by contributing $130,000 to help 1,400 families in the Tigray region get food. The project will also help family farms with water and soil conservation efforts.

D&P has also sent $200,000 to Caritas Ethiopia to deliver food, water and basic health care to 98,500 families.

More than half the country is suffering acutely from the drought, said Wall.

"All development and humanitarian actors in Ethiopia, including ourselves, are asked to prioritize responding to the crisis," she said.

The Ethiopian Catholic Church, which represents less than one per cent of the majority Christian nation, has set up an emergency task force.

The Canadian government has donated $30 million in emergency humanitarian assistance.