In response to the more than 12 million victims of drought and famine in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, Bishop John Noonan has asked diocesan parishes to take up a second collection to support emergency relief efforts in the Horn of Africa on the weekend of August 27 – 28.
The collection will support relief efforts provided by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) who is on the ground in East Africa responding to this emergency. In Ethiopia, CRS is expanding its food distribution program and is working closely with local partners to provide livelihood support, water and sanitation. In Somalia, CRS is supporting local partners to assist highly vulnerable, displaced families with basic necessities, such as food packages, support to clinics, therapeutic feeding and shelter. In Kenya, CRS is working both to assist newly-arrived refugees with hygiene, sanitation promotion and protection, and also to provide water, sanitation and supplemental feeding to drought-affected communities.
The severe lack of rainfall has resulted in failed crops, deaths of livestock and critical shortages in food and water. Earlier this month the Associated Press reported that more than 29,000 children under the age of 5 had died within a 90 day period in southern Somalia alone. Pope Benedict XVI, on several occasions, has asked Catholics to respond generously to the desperate needs of their brothers and sisters in East Africa.