24 million people at risk; Canadians invited to help
“We are reaching out to Canadians and asking them to please give generously,” says Foodgrains Bank executive director Jim Cornelius.
The prolonged drought, which affects about 14 million people in southern Africa, and another 10 million in Ethiopia, is a consequence of the most powerful El Nino event in recent history.
According to the World Food Programme and the United Nations, the countries most affected by the drought include Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland and Ethiopia; all will need food assistance this year.
As well, about one million children are in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition in eastern and southern Africa.
“People are suffering,” says Cornelius. “They are watching as the time to plant comes and goes with no rainfall, or watching the crops they did manage to plant wither and die.”
Through its members – World Renew, World Relief Canada, Mennonite Central Committee Canada and Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada – the Foodgrains Bank is responding.
To date, CFGB has committed over $2.5 million for relief projects, but more help is needed.
“The time to provide assistance is now, before photos of hungry children begin appearing on our screens,” says Cornelius, noting that African countries are doing what they can to mitigate the crisis.
“But if we wait until then, for many it will be too late.”
—Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of 15 churches and church agencies working together to end global hunger. In the 2014–15 budget year, the Foodgrains Bank provided over $41 million of assistance for 1.1 million people in 39 countries. Canadian Foodgrains Bank projects are undertaken with matching support from the Government of Canada. Assistance from the Foodgrains Bank is provided through its member agencies, which work with local partners in the developing world.