“Many times women and children have to travel more than 12 hours to gather water; there’s a domino effect in a significant way. Entire families are not able to have water, not able to have food.”
International (FH/MNN) — In Ethiopia, a country of more than 90 million people, an estimated more than 10 million are suffering from extreme drought brought on by El Nino weather patterns that are predicted to last for months to come. The impact of the drought is far-reaching: businesses are closing, children are unable to attend school, and disease is spreading.
Food for the Hungry CEO Gary Edmonds says it’s a situation where literally 10 million people are fighting for their very survival.
“You know, people created in the image and likeness of God, image-bearers of Christ, right now are fighting for their lives in the country of Ethiopia.”
Food for the Hungry has worked in Ethiopia for more than 30 years, focusing primarily on the development of water irrigation systems and hybrid crops able to grow in harsh conditions, helping to create a sustainable environment for communities. However, in the present drought conditions, even that is not adequate.
The ministry, with partners including the U.S. Agency for International Development, has set up emergency relief programs to help move foodstuffs like wheat, beans, and cooking oil to thousands of Ethiopian families. Food for the Hungry is also ferrying water in two ways. The first is by trucks that are being purchased to reach some families. But trucks alone can’t reach everyone in need.
“Many of the areas to which we’re going are unable to actually have trucks go there, so we have to get donkeys and move the water there in Jerry cans to be able to get it to these people.”
Edmonds expresses the heart of Food for the Hungry in meeting the needs of Ethiopians in crisis. “All of us know what it’s like to be vulnerable. And that’s why I believe we can help the people of Ethiopia. I believe that’s the heartbeat of Jesus.”
Strengthening families physically also aids in strengthening the country as a whole. Edmonds shares that without help, countries in crisis could become subject to militant ideology.
“They become environments that actually radicalize children and youth who are struggling for very life itself.”
You can be part of Food for the Hungry’s work in Ethiopia by both praying and contributing to its crisis relief efforts. Learn more about all of Food for the Hungry’s ministry programs around the world here.