From the Worldwide Faith News archives

PDA Rushes $100,000 to Famine-Plagued Ethiopia

Date 20 Apr 2000 07:52:50

In note #5862 to PRESBYNEWS, PCUSA NEWS wrote:


	PDA Rushes $100,000 to Famine-Plagued Ethiopia

	Children have starved by the thousands during lingering drought

	by Evan Silverstein

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Children by the hundreds have perished in recent weeks
from famine in southeastern Ethiopia.

	Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), hoping to ease suffering in the
drought-ravaged nation, recently sent $100,000 in emergency aid to Ethiopia,
where 7.7 million people are threatened with starvation. The funding from
One Great Hour of Sharing, announced on April 14, will be used to purchase
food and agricultural equipment and supplies.

	It is hoped that food assistance will reach about one-tenth of the
Ethiopians who are expected to go hungry in coming weeks.

	"The situation is severe, with reports of deaths, high levels of
malnutrition and people abandoning their homes and villages in search of
food," PDA said in a recent "situation report." "Many are currently
surviving on famine foods such as grasses, leaves, moss, roots and whatever
edible vegetation they can find."

	The United Nations has said that as many as 16 million people are at risk
of malnutrition in 10 countries of eastern and central Africa. The crisis in
unfolding most dramatically in Ethiopia, where three years of hot, dry
weather have killed crops and dried up wells. The UN has said that 836,800
tons of emergency food aid will be needed to avert a catastrophe. So far,
officials estimate that the nation has received only 40,000 tons.

	The PDA's contribution came in response to a $32 million appeal by Action
by Churches Together (ACT), which is working through the Joint Relief
Partnership (JRP), a consortium of local churches and church-related
organizations, in distributing food to prevent further death and destitution
in drought-stricken areas. The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus
(EECMY), an Ethiopian partner in mission of the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.), also is involved in the effort.

	 In addition to emergency food, agricultural supplies, such as seeds,
fertilizers, farm tools, draft animals, animal fodder and water are being
distributed to farmers as part of an ongoing development program. Ethiopia
is a rural, agrarian society. Eighty percent of the population depends on
agriculture for its livelihood.

	Meanwhile, 200 children younger than five years old died in Gode, Ethiopia,
in March, according to officials there. In two nearby towns, children have
been dying at the rate of a dozen a day since February. The suffering is
nothing new in the Horn of Africa, where a 1984-'85 drought left up to a
million people dead in Ethiopia.

	There is another obstacle in providing enough food aid to ward off
starvation  war. Landlocked Ethiopia's border war with Eritrea rules out
use of the region's best port, Assab on the Red Sea, as a gateway for aid
deliveries. Smaller, less efficient ports must be used, slowing the flow of
needed relief supplies to the nation's drought victims.

	The PC(USA) has established an account for contributions to the Ethiopia
relief effort. Donations can be sent through normal giving channels, or
directly to Central Receiving Service, Section 300, 100 Witherspoon Street,
Louisville, KY 40289. Please use the following account number: 9-2000052.

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