Ethiopia Famine Aid

After discovering members of the Borana tribe were starving and gathered together at the Gadhamoji village located approximately 147km south of Yabello, Ethiopia, Global Aid Network (GAiN) Canada responded with immediate food and plans to assist in their long-term recovery from the drought crisis in the Horn of Africa.

“He said…‘Help us before we die like our cattle,” GAiN’s director Bill Blaney explained, referring to his conversation with a Borana clan leader.

The group numbers 2,500 people, with members of 364 families from 12 different clans. Cattle herders, these semi-nomadic clans gathered annually on a ceremonial land in the bush. With the vast majority of their livestock dead, they elected to remain together indefinitely in one spot.

By September 11, 2011, GAiN and its local partner had begun the first food distribution, which consisted of maize, beans, cooking oil and Fafa. One hundred and six children and many of the elderly were considered severely malnourished.

GAiN’s intervention was timely as tribe members had not eaten for a month. According to one Borana woman, a number of aid agencies that passed through the area had promised to return with food. After hearing this, Blaney was firm: “We will deliver on what we promised.”

With the support of many partners over the last 11 months, we have been able to fulfill this promise by providing

  • 346,000 kg of maize
  • 140,750 kg of beans
  • 28,525 litres of cooking oil
  • 5,550 kg of Fafa and 60 cans of milk
  • 2,000 kg of sugar
  • 48 oxen for plowing and to start rebuilding their herds
  • 100 kg of early-maturing seeds to be sown before the rains come
  • ten spades and ten hoes so that the people could build a dugout to capture rain for their oxen
  • 3,932 bottles of WaterGuard, which are chemicals to purify the Borana’s bad water source
  • a nutritionist and a nurse
  • 364 tarps for each family’s make-shift shelter

(Note: due to the lack of belg rains in the summer of 2012, which resulted in crop failure, we want to ensure this group does not become sick and malnourished once again. As a result, $252,000 still needs to be raised in order for the monthly distributions to continue into the spring of 2013.)

“Your actions have matched your words,” shares Waqo Alaqhe, the leader for all of the 12 clans. “You promised that you would help us and you have. We trust you and I want to hear more about your God!”

We are committed and are making plans to help this group toward full recovery, but the drought that has ravished their land and taken their cattle is not finished yet. The spring and summer rains have failed. As a result, these people may not survive without help from people like you.

We remain gravely concerned about the continuing drought in southern Ethiopia. With the government categorizing the Gadhamoji village as a “highly affected area” and the next big rainy season nine months away, the need is still very real.

Without your help, this clan of 2,500 people will begin to decline to where they were before we became involved and many may die.

We are committed to raising funds and providing food for the 2,500 Borana people.To add to the desperate situation, water is scarce. As a result, GAiN, in partnership with a local organization, is committed to drilling 24 deep-water wells. Will you help us in providing clean, disease-free water for the Borana people?

Many of you came to the aid of the Borana people in the past, would you consider helping them again? For those who never helped, the Borana people need your help to survive.

There is an ancient Borana proverb that says, “When a person injures their leg they need to have a staff to help them walk.” The Borana people now add, “GAiN has provided that staff for us. In light of the ongoing drought, please don’t take away the staff that you have provided so that we do not fall down as we did before.” 

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