Humanitarian aid is more than food. It is a sign of hope.

In March 2017, a drought in east Africa, combined with terrible violence between the government and rebels, had created a famine in South Sudan. One of CAFOD’s staff based in the country, Emergency Programme Manager Michael O’Riordan, visited people in March to give out food. At that time he reflected on the emotion and power of the experience.

A haunting refrain

When I was leaving Yirol in central South Sudan following a food distribution, an elderly gentleman in his late 60s kept asking why he wasn’t on the list to receive food. He couldn’t work and therefore couldn’t earn a living. Clearly disabled and using a walking stick, he kept pleading “why am I not deserving?”.

This haunting refrain has echoed in my ears ever since.  It is not that he is not deserving; we just don’t have enough for everyone.

You can help food to people who are going hungry – donate to CAFOD’s emergency work

Having returned to this community after just a few months since the last food distribution, we found a bad situation far worse than we could have imagined. Although we are responding as best we can, it is beyond our ability to meet all needs.

Continue reading “Humanitarian aid is more than food. It is a sign of hope.”

Ethiopia Food Crisis: Working in partnership to tackle hunger

CAFOD’s World News Manager, Nana Anto-Awuakye has returned from Ethiopia where 10 million people currently face extreme hunger. She visited CAFOD’s partner the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, based in the capital Addis Ababa, and met with Shiferaw Mamo, the Humanitarian Programme Coordinator. He spoke to her about the  role of the Church in tackling the devastating effects of the worst drought the country has seen in 30 years.

CAFOD partner Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat's Humanitarian Programme Coordinator, Shiferaw Mamo
Shiferaw Mamo, Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat Humanitarian Programme Coordinator

Pinned to the walls of Shiferaw Mamo’s office is a large map of Ethiopia with map pins marking the regions that have been hit hardest by Ethiopia’s severe drought.

Donate to CAFOD’s Ethiopia Food Crisis Appeal

The map shows nature’s randomness, with some regions classed as level 1, meaning minimal food intervention, while other regions like Tigray are level 4: Emergency.

There’s another poster pinned behind Shiferaw’s office door which simple states: “FAITH, ACTION, RESULTS” in bold letters. This sums up the commitment and expertise of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia:

“We are small in number [Catholic Church], but we are everywhere, throughout the country, from North to South”, says Shiferaw Mamo, Humanitarian Coordinator for the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat.

“We have a history of responding to emergencies be it conflict or drought, and the people know that we are there on the frontline, seeing to their needs.” Continue reading “Ethiopia Food Crisis: Working in partnership to tackle hunger”