A NEWS RELEASE
From Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA)
Winnipeg, August 6, 2002 (ELCIC)-- The Global Hunger and Development Appeal (GHDA) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) requests your support for the appeal launched by Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) to help people in southern Africa in the grip of near-famine conditions brought on by drought. GHDA has sent an advance payment of $3000 to CLWR in support of this appeal.
An estimated 12 million people are facing starvation in southern Africa's worst food crisis in 50 years, according to the UN's World Food Program.
Agencies in the region are reporting that people are already eating the seeds for next year's planting. More and more severely malnourished children are being brought to feeding centres as a last resort, according to Enock Oduro, director of CLWR's Africa programs.
Although the causes of the crisis vary from country to country, they all have in common a complexity brought on by the deadly combination of natural and human made factors. Floods in 2001 caused widespread devastation. This year, there was simply not enough rain. Grain production collapsed. Prices increased. South Africa, which in the past supplemented production, does not have enough surplus food stocks itself to help its neighbours.
"The devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis has also contributed to the increased vulnerability of people in the region," said Oduro. "People's coping mechanisms are all but exhausted."
Donations to this appeal will go towards ongoing, existing long-term development aid like irrigation projects and the purchase of drought-resistant seeds in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia. This will enable people in southern Africa to help themselves during the hard times.
CLWR has been involved in the region for more than 25 years, supporting a variety of income generation, agriculture, water development, health care, HIV/AIDS prevention and education projects. Projects are implemented at the community level through partnerships with various church-related groups including Lutheran World Federation and Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
GHDA urges ELCIC members to respond to the current crisis in southern Africa with a second mile gift to this appeal. Donations designated for this appeal will be forwarded in their entirety to CLWR to assist southern Africa famine victims.