by Joy Casey
All pictures were taken a week ago by our Director of Evangelism, Pastor Zerihun

Drought. The word sends shivers up my spine. It means, for some, severe hunger with complications secondary to malnutrition while facing the very real prospect of death. Parts of Ethiopia are encountering the worst drought in more than 40 years as farmers face the 5th consecutive failed rainy season. There are no reserves.

The March-May rainy season is the driest on record, devastating livelihoods and deepening an already existing humanitarian emergency. The World Meteorological Organization says there is a risk that the October-December rainy season could also fail.

A rapid scaling up of action is needed to save lives and avert starvation. Many of the “big gun” agencies say they are underfunded and unable to provide food on the scale that is necessary. NewLife certainly cannot meet the needs of millions, but we can help families in drought-affected villages where we have established Christian communities.

$60 provides food for one family for one month*

NEWLIFE’S GOAL IS TO PROVIDE FOOD FOR 500 FAMILIES IN JULY — families like Aman and Hiku who have 7 children. Aman is a subsistence farmer and each planting season he has faithfully sowed corn seeds with the hope that rain will water his crops and his family will have food to eat. By the end of May, Aman had to concede that the corn he depends on will never mature. Aman and Hiku have done like others in food-starved villages:  they gave their children as indentured servants to work on farms in towns where food is being produced so their children can eat and hopefully provide some small assistance to their parents. Children as young as 7 have been sent away as farm laborers.

Famine is ravaging the land affecting 12 of the 23 villages where NewLife has missionaries and churches planted. Every village reports 8 dead — 10 dead — 30 dead — with hundreds more at risk. One little girl was carried to a hospital with severe abdominal cramping. The doctor discovered an intestinal obstruction due to acute hunger.  Treatment was too little, too late and the child died.

We can save lives. Together, we can help people who are unable to provide food for themselves and their children. Each $60 you donate will feed a family for a month. 100% of what you give will be used to purchase maize, the food staple of this area. Last year we helped 6 villages avert starvation, but the drought is more widespread this year affecting many more people.

We need your partnership financially, but also your advocacy with your friends, families and churches. Ethiopians are facing a life or death situation that we, The Church, can significantly impact and be blessed for doing so.

*prices have increased substantially – last summer we were able to purchase this same amount for $40