CBM warns of worst drought to face Ethiopia in decades

© ORDA/CBM

© ORDA/CBM

Overseas disability charity CBM is appealing to the public for donations to save lives in Ethiopia, as the country struggles to cope with its worst drought in thirty years. More than 10 million people are facing food shortage because harvests have failed and livestock are dying. The charity will be providing food, seed and livestock to the most vulnerable people, helping to avert the real threat of starvation and disease. The drought has been exacerbated by this year’s El Niño weather system, which has caused extreme weather in many parts of the world.

“The sooner we respond to the unfolding crisis, the more we will be able to avert a major tragedy in Ethiopia” explains CBM Chief Executive Kirsty Smith. “The situation is already desperate for millions of people, but without urgent action it is going to get worse. As harvests have failed, farmers have not only lost their food for this year but have nothing to plant for next season, and the lack of clean water means that disease is a real threat. People with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, many of whom survive from day to day in a normal year are now facing the real threat of starvation.”

CBM will focus its support on the most vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, who make up as many as 1 in 7 of the population.

Ms Smith says: “We know from our experience of providing disaster relief around the world that people with disabilities often miss out on life-saving support. The Ethiopian Government has started distributing emergency food and water but disabled people may not see notification or hear about emergency aid or be able to reach distribution points, which can be six hours walk from affected communities. They may not be physically able to wait in long queues for food or water even if they are able to reach them and may be less able to protect any aid they do receive.”

With support from the public, CBM will not only respond to the emergency needs but, working through its Ethiopian partner ORDA, will equip families to survive the drought by:

  • Providing food to children at school, and to children with disabilities who do not attend school (disabled children are often excluded from school as teachers are not trained to meet their needs, schools are under-resourced and buildings are not accessible).
  • Providing seeds and livestock (poultry, seeds and goats) to vulnerable families;
  • Helping communities to build and improve community ponds and irrigation systems, also providing an opportunity to earn through “cash for work” schemes.

How donations to CBM could help save lives

£25 could provide a household with six chickens

£40 could buy tools and help build a water harvesting system

£60 could provide food for 4 children for the next 5 months

£105 could provide a household with three sheep or goats

Donate online at www.cbmuk.org.uk or by telephone 01223 484700.

Overseas disability charity CBM is an international, Christian organisation that transforms the lives of people with or at risk of disabilities in the poorest communities of the world. In 2014, CBM reached over 30 million people in more than 60 countries. For more information, visit www.cbmuk.org.uk or www.facebook.com/cbmuk.org

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