By Ethiopia Relief Team (Originally in English)
Due to the El Niño phenomenon, the lack of rain has affected much of the eastern and southern parts of Ethiopia since 2015, significantly reducing two consecutive harvests. The rainfall shortage has led to a prolonged drought, and the loss of a significant amount of crops in many parts of Ethiopia.
The most affected areas are the Afar, Oromia and Somali regions. Based on official reports, the number of people in need of immediate food assistance was estimated at 10.2 million in the country, in addition to the eight million people who are currently helped through the government’s safety net.
Upon hearing the news, and following Supreme Master Ching Hai’s loving instruction to render aid to those in need, several of our Association members from China, Ethiopia, Formosa and the United States formed relief teams. Master generously contributed US$14,000, and our Association members from Los Angeles, California, USA and China contributed US$14,525 for this humanitarian effort.
January 2016 Relief Efforts – Near the Afar Region
On January 29, 2016, our relief team consisting of members from Ethiopia and Formosa traveled to one of the severely affected areas near the Afar Region, which is 600 kilometers to the north of Addis Ababa, the capital city. We arrived at the town of Mersa after two days of traveling and met with the district official, Mr. Addisu Abera, the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness coordinator. With his detailed guidance, our team learned that the local farmers urgently needed seeds to plant crops in order to supplement their inadequate food supply. Therefore, we delivered ETB 500 in cash to each of the 154 householders.
There were two groups of villagers that came to receive financial assistance. The first group consisted of 73 households from Boffa Village that arrived in Mersa to receive the cash aid. The second group of 81 households from Arerit Village went to the nearest town of Haroto to receive the monetary aid. The chairman of Arerit Village, Mr. Nurye Yesuf Musa, was very concerned about the drought victims, and walked six hours to meet us. He discussed how to help the victims in the most effective way. Due to lack of transportation and the long distance, both our relief team and the drought victims had to walk hours and then ride in a very small vehicle in order to meet with each other.
On our way to the drought area, it rained continuously; the relief team was touched by God’s blessing power raining down miraculously where it was much needed. We also explained to the villagers the consequence of climate change and its solution, which is the vegan lifestyle. The villagers were touched by Master’s love; everyone smiled, and later the rain stopped, so they were able to return home safely.
March and April 2016 Relief Efforts – Oromia Region
In March and April 2016, our Association members from China, Ethiopia, and the United States collaborated with a local NGO called Save Mothers and Children of Oromia (SMCO) on a plan called the “School-based Emergency Response Project.” The initiative provides assistance to the most vulnerable schoolchildren in critical need of food, water and other necessities.
In March, our relief team went to Fentale of East Shawa and Mi`eso District of West Hararghe Zone, which were among the worst drought-affected areas in the Oromia Region, to check out the situation of the local school. With the guidance of the school officials and administrators, namely Mr. Abbuu Asaffaa, Head of Fentale Education Office; Mr. Hachalu Waltaji, an administrator at the Fentale Education Office; Mr. Alemayehu Yadeta, from the Mi`eso Education Office; and Mr. Workineh Kebede, School Director; our relief team learned that many remote schools do not have water tanks to store water. Thus, we purchased 12 water tanks, and delivered seven of them from Addis Ababa to seven primary schools (Dhimbiba, Chopoo, Weba, Mukusa, HaroHuba, Meliba, GodooFafate) in the Fentale area, and five water tanks to Mi`eso area schools (Mi`eso, Kora, Arba Bordode, Asebot #2 and Oda Asebot), totaling up to providing water for approximately 7,000 students. The water tanks were filled with potable water when the tanks were delivered and installed on-site. Subsequently, the respective district education offices will fill them with water as needed.
In consultation with the West Hararghe Education Office represented by Mr. Kisi Abeshu, the deputy head of the zone education office, our relief team identified a food supplier, and entered into contract with the Burka Galeti Farmers` Cooperative Union to buy home-grown maize flour with fava beans/chickpeas (a mix that is proportionally 80% maize flour and 20% beans), vegetable oil and iodized salt. These food supplies would be enough to feed around 1,900 students in Mi`eso Primary School and Kindergarten for 3.5 months, until end of the school year. As for more than 1,000 impoverished students, we also purchased and distributed academic exercise books, and school uniforms for about 80 students.
While our relief team members were delivering water tanks, all of a sudden rain fell in abundance in the drought area where it had not rained for two years. Our team was so touched by God`s blessing during this critical time.
When our relief team delivered the food and exercise books to Mi`eso Primary School, the director of the school arranged for a gathering of all the schoolteachers and children to learn about the benefits of the vegan lifestyle: to save the lives of animals and all beings on the planet. The director and teachers were very interested in this information and wanted to learn more. Later, the children spontaneously sang a lovely, traditional song to express their happiness and gratitude.
We thank Save Mothers and Children of Oromia (SMCO), the officers from the Oromia Finance and Economic Development Bureau (OBFED), the Oromia Education Bureau (OEB), the Oromia Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (ODPPC) and other officers for their assistance so that the relief team could share God’s love with the local people in the most-affected areas.
Our relief team is deeply grateful to Master for giving us the opportunity to share Her love with the pure people of Ethiopia. While traveling to this area that severely lacks water, electricity and food, the relief team realized that these basic things which we took for granted are truly precious resources of the planet, and it makes us all much more appreciative of whatever we have as God’s blessings. May all those affected by the devastating drought in Ethiopia be blessed with futures of abundance and happiness.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association for the Drought Relief Work in Ethiopia
|Near the Afar Region Relief:|
|Cash aid for 154 households||77,000||A|
|Transportation and other miscellaneous relief operation costs||7,814|
|Oromia Region Relief:|
|Food (maize flour with fava beans and chickpeas) vegetable oil and iodized salt||284,190||B|
|Water tanks and accessories||142,460||C|
|Cooking pots, exercise books, pens, uniforms etc.||39,988||D|
|Transportation expenses for relief materials, car rental, including fuel and supplies|
|Total|| ETB 599,017
Throughout the Oromia Region relief operation, team members paid for their own food and accommodations.
North Area Relief Work – January 2016
Fentale and Mi`eso Area Relief Work – March and April 2016