You are probably starting to hear about a humanitarian crisis unfolding in East Africa, mostly affecting Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. Catholic Relief Services staff in the region report dreadful conditions. This just came in from a refugee camp in Kenya:
They've walked for days or weeks from Somalia, and their shoes show it. Dusty and worn, the sandals of a little boy dangle in his hand as he wails in the center of the camp. Nearby, his exhausted 22-year-old mother, Momina, rocks her sobbing baby. "We had sheep, goats and cattle—over a dozen,” she says. "They all died from the drought.... Food was running out. So, we left."
These terrible conditions have sparked an exodus of refugees — mostly women and children —pouring into Kenya and Ethiopia in search of food.
East Africa's worst drought in more than half a century is causing extreme hunger for more than 11 million people. Severe lack of rainfall has resulted in failed crops, critical shortages in food and water, and countless numbers of livestock dying from dehydration and starvation. Further compounding the crisis are drastic increases in food prices.
All this brings to mind sobering images from the Ethiopian famine of 1984. Who can forget the pictures of emaciated, listless children on TV? The full scope of such a humanitarian catastrophe was not fully realized until after so many had died.
This time is different. This time, we know what is likely to come as the disaster unfolds. I am asking you to help CRS with a generous gift so that we can quickly increase the scope of our efforts there to feed and provide water to as many needy people as possible. Help us prevent another tragedy.
Since 1960, CRS has provided water and agricultural programs in Kenya and Ethiopia, where current drought conditions are not as dire as in Somalia. Your previous gifts are already saving lives because those programs helped us dig deep wells that have helped lessen the drought's effects. But this drought is so widespread that our existing efforts are not enough. We need your help.
I ask you to please give now and help prevent another disaster like the 1984 Ethiopian famine. Please help our brothers and sisters in East Africa, who so desperately need our help.
Thank you, and God bless you.
Catholic Relief Services
CRS is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. To learn more about how the Diocese of Saginaw supports CRS, contact Terri Grierson.