Foodgrains Bank launches African drought appeal

24 million people at risk; Canadians invited to help

With millions of people in southern Africa and Ethiopia facing extreme drought this year, Canadian Foodgrains Bank is inviting Canadians to help by making a donation to its African Drought Appeal.

“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.


Emergency food distribution in Dugda.

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.

Jim in Dugda Ethiopia

Executive Director Jim Cornelius recently spoke with Mulu Yimez, a mother of 11 children, at a food distribution in Dugda, Ethiopia. This district is usually a surplus grain producing area that experienced a complete crop failure last year due to the El Nino related drought. Many household’s like Mulu’s are struggling to secure the food they need. She has sold all of her livestock for funds to buy food, and has been working as a casual labourer whenever she can find the limited work available. Her husband has migrated to look for work. The Foodgrains Bank is supporting the distribution of emergency food relief through World Renew and FH Ethiopia to 41,000 people in the district.

“But if we wait until then, for many it will be too late.”

Read about CFGB’s drought appeal here.

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.

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