Caritas pledges $50,000 towards Horn of Africa
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has pledged NZ$50,000 towards the food and refugee crisis unfolding in the Horn of Africa, and is accepting donations from the public.
'We are working through partners on the ground in Kenya and Tanzania, and through other agencies from the international Caritas network,' says Director Michael Smith.
'This crisis represents a huge challenge for aid agencies and the international community,' he said 'More than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa require emergency assistance due to prolonged drought conditions.'
Successive seasons of failed rains combined with increasing food prices, conflict, and limited access for aid agencies have impacted food stocks and caused water shortages.
Drought- and conflict-affected people are now fleeing Somalia for camps in southern Ethiopia and northeastern Kenya, where food and water are more readily available. Thousands are coming into camps each day. Poor rains and an influx of refugees are also affecting Tanzania and Sudan.
'We need to respond to the immediate and pressing needs of our brothers and sisters,' said Mr Smith. 'But it also highlights again the need to address long-term poverty, and take strong action to minimise and help people adapt to climate change – otherwise we will see more of such situations. This region is seeing droughts every other year, where it used to be every 5-10 years.'
Caritas has supported community development in Tanzania and south Sudan for many years. It has provided relief assistance in partnership with Trócaire (Caritas Ireland) Horn and East Africa Regional office and with Caritas Kenya. Trócaire has been involved in humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia and Somalia for a significant period of time, with strong local connections and expertise.