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Emergency Food Crisis Spotlight

With your support local experts will be able to scale up their response to reach more people with the food they urgently need.

Local church partners are doing all they can to reach families with food and water, efforts to peace build and support for a return to farming in Tonj North, South and East; Gogrial West in Warrap State and in Yirol East in Lakes State.

What is the situation in north-east Nigeria?

Eleven years ago, a violent conflict began in north-east Nigeria. A Nigerian militant Islamist group called Boko Haram unleashed a reign of terror on communities, attacking public places, kidnapping women and girls, destroying crops and stealing livestock. Boko Haram attacks have closed markets, and some farming communities have been unable to farm for several years.

The UN Development Programme reports that people who make it out of insurgent-controlled areas are malnourished, and that the insecurity has led to a decline in farming, food production and market trading, leaving households destitute. The UN estimates that more than 13 million people live in areas affected by conflict, of whom nearly 9 million need humanitarian aid.

CAFOD’s local partner JDPC Maiduguri is seeking to improve food security and livelihoods by providing cash grants to cover emergency needs, as well as training farmer groups and distributing agricultural inputs and tools to improve farming activities.

A recent report from the United Nations says 155 million people faced acute hunger in 2020 – an increase of 20 million people from 2019 – and that hunger is expected to increase in 23 global hotspots.

The report identifies the situation in Ethiopia, South Sudan, and north-east Nigeria as “catastrophic”, with Ethiopia at the top of the list.

What is the situation in Ethiopia?

On 4 November 2020, armed conflict broke out between the regional government and the federal government in northern Ethiopia. According to UN estimates, this conflict has left 2 million people displaced, including hundreds of thousands of people in the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions. An estimated 5.2 million people need assistance.

Families on all sides of the conflict have had to flee their farms and homesteads, leaving behind all that they own. Last year’s November/December harvest has already been lost. There are fears that the current planting season will be severely impacted by the conflict as well.

It is now critical to reach vulnerable families who have lost everything and have exhausted all ways of coping.

Your donation today will allow us to support the emergency response of the Church in Ethiopia – getting food parcels to vulnerable families and nutrition support to pregnant mothers and children under five years of age. It will also allow us to provide essential counselling for those traumatized by the war.

“We are grateful to all those who have been working tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of the population and we encourage them to ensure that no-one be forgotten or left out. We urge all parties on the ground to allow unfettered access to humanitarian aid.”

Catholic Bishops Conference of Ethiopia, July 2021

What is the situation in South Sudan?

In July, South Sudan marked 10 years of independence, but the years of continued conflict and violence and the impact of the climate crisis – drought, floods and a locust plague – have combined to severely restrict people’s ability to grow food.

The situation for many families has become much bleaker as Covid restrictions have devastated the informal economy of daily wage earners. The UN estimates that 60 per cent of South Sudan’s 12 million population now face dangerous levels of hunger.

“Communities across South Sudan are facing huge challenges at this time. Ongoing conflict, the effects of flooding and the impact of Covid on health and the economy are all making food needs worse for families. With extreme hunger a more visible and increasing threat than the virus, children go out on the streets to beg for food, despite the danger of the disease spreading. Day and night outside my priest house, people are asking for something to ‘quench their hunger’. It is the poorest, the old, women and children who are paying the price.”

Father James Oyet Latansio, one of CAFOD’s partners