TEAR Fund today launched an appeal to help feed the millions suffering the worst drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa. TEAR Fund executive director Steve Tollestrup said TEAR Fund's partners had been working in Ethiopia, one of the worst affected countries, helping to insulate subsistent farmers against drought, but the expected rains had not come for the past two seasons. "We have been monitoring the situation for some months in the hope that the rains would come but the crisis has reached tipping point, and we have to do something now to prevent widespread starvation. The images coming out of this region are heartbreaking and we are calling on Kiwis to get behind TEAR Fund's appeal, which will provide much-needed food aid." Richard Lister, TEAR Fund UK's head of region for East Africa, said, "Across the eastern Horn of Africa, people have experienced two consecutive poor rainy seasons, resulting in one of the driest years since the early 1950s in many pastoral areas." South east Ethiopia was one of the hardest hit regions, with 3.2 million farming-dependent people experiencing a food crisis. Northern Kenya and Somalia were also badly affected, he said.
"There has been a widespread loss of crops and livestock and the impact of the drought has been worsened by high food prices, and in some areas, conflict. There is an extreme risk of this crisis becoming critical if rains remain erratic."
He said, to add to the pressure on struggling families, staple food prices have rocketed. "For example, yellow maize prices in the Ethiopian Jiiga grain market had risen by 117 per cent from May 2010 to May 2011, while white maize at the Mandera market in Kenya had risen by nearly 60 per cent."
To give to this appeal: visit www.tearfund.org.nz or phone 0800 800 777
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For more information or comment, contact Journalist/Public Relations Officer on 09 620 3008 or 021 757 809.
TEAR Fund NZ is a Christian aid and development organisation which works in close partnership with indigenous non-government organisations and churches in Asia, Africa, Central and . TEAR Fund actively changes the lives of the poor and oppressed through disaster relief, community development, Microenterprise, and child sponsorship. In NZ since 1975, TEAR Fund is a member of the Council for International Development, the NZ Disaster Relief Forum and has representation on the Government's project funding allocation committee.
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