I have written quite a bit about this before, but I have to say that I was moved again today by the BBC News report and pictures of the food crisis in Ethiopia. We saw this situation first-hand when we visited Ethiopia in August and the predictions at that time were that conditions were going to deteriorate further because of the lack of rain and the failure of the crops.
Now it seems as though there are millions of people who are in desperate need. The BBC reports that the Ethiopian government has asked the international community for emergency food aid for 6.2 million people. The UN’s World Food Programme says $285m (£173m) will be needed in the next six months.
It’s interesting that the Ethiopian government is acknowledging its need of help. When we visited one food distribution centre in Boricha in August, the government official who accompanied us would not let us take any photos of the people who had gathered to receive food. Apparently there was a desire to play down the extent of the problem.
The Irish government has cut its aid budget, and it is biting deeply into the overseas programmes of both Tearfund and Christian Aid in the final quarter of this year. The distribution centre which was full of food in August was empty by the end of September, and those who benefited from it are without any other source of food. It really is a life and death situation.
This week we launched this year’s World Development Appeal, as we reported previously on this blog. These poor and desperate people of Ethiopia need our help.
We can confirm that every penny given to organisations like Tearfund and Christian Aid is used strategically and effectively for the benefit of those who are in greatest need. It is part of our Christian discipleship that we give food to the hungry and water to the thirsty (Matthew 25:35-40).