Ethiopian Appeal

28 April 2000

Ethiopian Appeal

With Ethiopia suffering its worst famine since the devastating

droughts of 1984, FARM-Africa is appealing for money to

help those caught in Konso, one of the hardest-hit areas.

Richard Turner, the charitys fundraising director, explains

THE people in Konso have been teetering on the brink of famine since last June. The two previous crops produced a disappointingly low yield and the current crop is standing dead in the fields. There is no grain in the stores and people have been relying on wild fruits and weeds for sustenance since early last year.

Despite the efforts of aid charities such as FARM-Africa and the local Ethiopian authorities, the world is only just beginning to notice Ethiopias plight, some 10 months later.

In some parts of Ethiopia, people are left with so little water they cannot even cook their emergency food rations. FARM-Africa has been working with southern Ethiopian communities for the last 10 years to try to ensure that when drought comes, they can cope. However, three years of successive drought means these people simply cannot continue to cope on their own. Outside help is needed.

The situation is at crisis level. Because of the initial delay in responding to the request for aid, the desperately needed food and supplies will not be delivered until June at the earliest.

FARM-Africa has a way to bridge this gap. With distribution lines and systems already set up within the area, the charity can distribute emergency rations to these stricken families immediately.

With donations from the public, FARM-Africa will be able to buy grain from other richer areas within the country and distribute it to the famine-stricken communities that need it most. This will bridge the inevitable delay until the international aid agencies can mobilise their resources.

FARM-Africa estimates that over £1m is needed to provide 4400t of emergency grain rations to the starving people of Konso for the next vital two months. Though UK farming is suffering its worst slump for decades, FARM-Africa is still confident that UK producers will show their compassion towards other farmers who are much worse off than themselves.

You can donate by telephone (0500-340310) or post (see below) or through any Barclays branch (quote Send a Tonne).

In Konso, Ethiopia the current crop is standing dead in the fields.

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