CNEWA Launches Emergency Appeal to Feed Hungry Families in the Horn of Africa

NEW YORK — Catholic Near East Welfare Association has launched a campaign to rush emergency aid to thousands of hungry families impacted by drought in the Horn of Africa.

In parts of northeastern Africa, little measurable rainfall has been recorded in the last year — resulting in parched soil and withered seeds. Ironically, in recent weeks, some of these sun-beaten areas have experienced storms so intense that rushing waters have poured off the land, taking with them rich topsoil and leaving behind rivers of mud littered with dead livestock.

Among those gravely afflicted by drought are subsistence farmers, men and women who have worked the land for generations, growing just enough to feed their families and, on occasion, to barter whatever surplus remains.

“People are hungry and have no more energy to do their work,” wrote CNEWA’s regional director in Addis Ababa, Argaw Fantu, in a recent email to CNEWA President Msgr. John E. Kozar. “Many elders can barely stand up anymore. But for me,” he added, “it is most painful to see children listless and weary. The smallest are too weak to cry and the older ones have little or no energy.”

Even now, CNEWA is working with church partners in the Horn of Africa, addressing hunger in the hardest hit Catholic schools, providing nutrient-rich biscuits for thousands of children in more than 70 childcare programs. Through Catholic health stations and parishes, CNEWA has rushed more than $100,000 to help feed the most vulnerable, including expectant women, nursing mothers and the elderly. More help is needed quickly, before the situation becomes dire.

“I have just returned from Ethiopia,” said CNEWA’s Msgr. Kozar, “visiting schools and parishes in the extreme northern reaches of the country, bordering Eritrea. After visiting with each of the classes, children would line up to receive their ‘CNEWA’ biscuits: a two-biscuit pack that would sustain them as the school day went on and would give them enough energy to walk home to their mountain dwellings. Most of the children walk over steep mountain trails for two or three hours each way to come to school.

“This simple nutritional supplement,” Msgr. Kozar continued, “nourishes these children, enabling them to come to school where they remain awake and alert.”

An agency of the Holy See, CNEWA works throughout the Horn of Africa, as well as in other areas of conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and India. On behalf of the pope, CNEWA works for, through and with the Eastern churches, rushing aid to refugee families; providing maternity and health care for the poorest of the poor; assisting initiatives for the marginalized, especially the children, elderly and disabled; and offering formation and supporting the education of seminarians, religious novices and lay leaders.

CNEWA is a registered charity in the United States by the State of New York and in Canada. All contributions are tax deductible and tax receipts are issued.

In the United States, donations can be made online at; by phone at 800.442.6392; or by mail, CNEWA, 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022-4195.

In Canada, visit; write a cheque to CNEWA Canada and send to 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9; or call toll-free at 1-866-322-4441.

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