OTTAWA — Catholic Near East Welfare Association has launched an emergency appeal to help feed Eritrean families affected by acute malnutrition. While reliable statistics are unavailable, sources in Eritrea indicate a significant portion of Eritrea’s 4.8 million people are undernourished, especially children, women of child-bearing age and the elderly. Local sources indicate there has been a gradual increase in funerals.
Consecutive years of drought, military conflict and economic crises are resulting in severe malnutrition. In many villages, women line up daily to buy their ration of a single loaf of bread. In the best of times, Eritrea can barely produce enough food to meet its requirements. This year, with late and meager rainfall, the situation is worse.
Dead cattle and other livestock, deprived of grass, feed and water, litter the parched landscape. Rationing has become the norm and what food is available on the market is imported and far too expensive for most families.
“Mainly depending on local farming, Eritreans have lost their capacity to feed themselves and face starvation. Our concern now is to feed the families of this land,” explained Carl Hétu, CNEWA Canada’s National Secretary.
CNEWA hopes to raise an initial $100,000 as soon as possible. This amount will feed 1,000 families for three months.
Contributions can be made by telephone (1-866-322-4441), online at www.cnewa.ca or by cheque (made out to CNEWA Canada “Eritrea Emergency Fund”) at the following address: CNEWA Canada, 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9.
CNEWA is an agency of the Holy See. For more than 80 years, CNEWA has provided vital humanitarian and pastoral support to the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India and Northeast Africa.