Millions of people are on the brink of starving
Scots are being urged to dig deep and support Ethiopians with the country facing its biggest drought since the 1980s.
With many millions on the brink of starvation and 90% of cattle dead, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) has launched an emergency appeal to help save lives.
Alistair Dutton, chief executive of SCIAF said: “Ethiopia is in desperate need, with 20 million people urgently in need of food. These people urgently need our help.
“Hunger in Ethiopia is accelerating at a devastating rate. Although it’s not a new problem, climate change is undoubtedly heaping despair upon despair. That, combined with the events of the last few years – COVID, the war in Ukraine and the global economic downturn – mean we are facing a deadly hunger crisis.
“I was in Ethiopia in February with our Bishop President Brian McGee and we saw a country in crisis. The rivers are dry, harvests have failed, and the cattle are dead. Our partners tell us that the situation is so bad that men are now pulling ploughs on their backs because their cattle are dead.
Another issue contributing to the hunger crisis is the suspension of life-saving food distribution by the WFP (World Food programme and USAID (US Agency for International Development) for a number of months.
Dutton said: “While USAID and WFP announced that food assistance will only be resumed when strong monitoring measures are in place, people cannot wait. Vital aid must reach all those in need now. Every single day counts.
“People are entirely dependent on food and water aid, or they have nothing. Severe and desperate hunger across Ethiopia continues to worsen. If charities like SCIAF don’t come in to help, there will be no water, no food. There is no back up plan. They are already dying.”
One person that SCIAF works with, Ayoyo, cultivated for food and ran a small business. However, because of the drought, this is now impossible. Everything around her has died.
She said: “The drought has destroyed all our crops and left us very hungry – we have nothing to eat. Before he died my husband supported me, but now I don’t have any support.
“I used to have ten goats and five cows, but the drought has killed all my livestock. There is nothing left. Without SCIAF my children might have died.”
The spiralling hunger crisis has led SCIAF to launch an emergency appeal for the East African country and people are urged to give whatever they can afford.
Bishop Brian McGee is SCIAF’s bishop president and was deeply moved by the scenes which greeted him in February.
He said: “I travelled through an area where more than 336,000 people were in need of emergency aid. There are severe food and water shortages. The amount of available food has reduced dramatically so that adults, especially mothers, choose to go without food so that their children can eat.
“Some 90% of the livestock had died, while those remaining were producing little milk, and the situation’s deteriorated considerably since then.
“It was clear that families have nowhere left to turn. They’ve lost everything.
“By reaching out in loving kindness, you can save lives. When you donate to SCIAF you are not simply giving to charity but partnering with fellow human beings across the world. Please act now and give what you can. Please be the hope they need.”