Monday, November 10, 2008

Defying Drought in Ethiopia

Defying Drought in Ethiopia

03 Nov 2008 00:00:00 GMT03 Nov 2008 00:00:00 GMT
Source: Catholic Relief Services (CRS) - USA
By Debbie DeVoe, CRS Regional Information Officer, East Africa
Poor rains throughout the year have left 6.4 million Ethiopians in need of emergency food assistance as of October 2008. In May, Catholic Relief Services and its local Church partners began responding to the growing crisis by supporting emergency feedings and medical services. Now CRS is leading a consortium of international aid agencies to deliver more than 75,000 metric tons of food donated by the United States -- enough to fill an entire ocean freighter -- to almost 3 million drought-affected Ethiopians this fall.

While this food assistance is critical, just as important are CRS' ongoing long-term development projects. Irrigation activities, including construction of wells and water systems, enable families to reduce dependence on rain-fed crops and grow high-premium vegetables they can eat and sell -- a lifesaving lifestyle change in drought-prone areas. Seed distributions, agricultural training and agro-enterprise projects that connect farmers to markets are also helping Ethiopians to boost food availability, increase incomes and ultimately survive this latest cycle of drought.

Photo by Debbie DeVoe/CRSSimple hand-dug wells help farming communities reduce their dependence on the rain and enable them to harvest and sell vegetables two to three times a year.

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