As the worst Ethiopian drought in 60 years threatens as many as 20 million people living in more than half of 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 e-mail 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 co-operates with CST-Together on development projects.
The Catholic Register reported on the drought from Ethiopia in September, as the crisis began to take hold. At that point farmers were selling livestock at cut-rate prices before the pasture ran out completely. By December there were “at least 10 million people who need urgent support,” said Wall.
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.