CCGP International Assistance Goal: Increase poverty-focused international assistance. The current drought in East Africa—the worst in decades—has placed more than 12 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. As crops fail from lack of rain and prices for food rise out of reach, populations are fleeing to other countries in hopes of food and support. In addition to the urgency for humanitarian aid for the region, the situation underscores the need for ongoing international assistance that ensures these drought-prone areas can avoid such food crises in the future.
In the region around the eastern city of Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, watershed improvement projects developed by the Hararghe Catholic Secretariat, Catholic Relief Services’ partner in the diocese of Hararghe, have made several of the region’s poorest communities drought-resistant. U.S. international assistance has helped subsistence farmers and herders to develop and protect near-by water sources, learn effective irrigation strategies and yield clean water and sustainable crops despite shortages of rainfall.
Once these three-year programs are complete, the communities no longer rely on development funding, and they don’t require food aid during droughts. Such efforts, however, have been the target of cuts proposed by the U.S. Congress in recent years.
Ways you can respond to the famine in Africa:
- Now is the time to urge Congress and the Administration not to abandon our brothers and sisters in East Africa and around the world.
- Pray for the people in the Horn of Africa and study ways to lend support. Visit the CRS East Africa Crisis web page, which provides prayer and action resources for responding to the immediate food emergency in the Horn of Africa.
- Learn more about development programs that help communities resist drought:
- “Ethiopian Drought Can’t Touch Irrigated Oasis” article by photojournalist David Snyder
- You Tube Video: East Africa Integrated Water Program Evaluation Part 1 (8 minutes long)
- You Tube Video: East Africa Integrated Water Program Evaluation Part 2 (6 minutes and 54 seconds long)