Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, chairman of the Board of Catholic Relief Services, have asked their brother bishops to encourage pastors and parishioners to support emergency relief efforts in the Horn of Africa, possibly by taking up a second collection.
More than 12 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia because of what many are calling the worst drought in decades. This severe lack of rainfall has resulted in failed crops, deaths of livestock and critical shortages in food and water.
“Every day we are seeing more and more heartbreaking news about the drought and famine in Somalia and the eastern parts of Africa. We see millions of people being forced from their homes, leaving behind what meager possessions they had, and walking for days over rough terrain,” wrote Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Kicanas.
“There are parents whose little children have died, and children who have been orphaned. They are suffering from hunger, thirst, disease, and drought,” they said. “It is a humanitarian crisis that cries out for help to Christians throughout the world. The Holy Father, on several occasions, has asked Catholics to respond generously to the desperate needs of our brothers and sisters in East Africa.”
CRS has worked in East Africa for decades, and is on the ground responding to this emergency. In Ethiopia, CRS is expanding its food distribution program to 1.1 million people and is working closely with local partners to provide livelihood support, water and sanitation. In Somalia, CRS is supporting local partners to assist highly vulnerable, displaced families with basic necessities, such as food packages, support to clinics, therapeutic feeding and shelter. In Kenya, CRS is working both to assist newly-arrived refugees with hygiene, sanitation promotion and protection, and also to provide water, sanitation and supplemental feeding to drought-affected Kenyan communities.
“CRS can use all the help we can offer in this current tragic situation,” wrote Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Kicanas. “Through CRS our generosity could literally feed thousands and provide them clean water, shelter and other life-saving goods. Over time, CRS will be able to expand already proven drought mitigation and other development programs that unfortunately are now only available in a handful of villages.”
Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Kicanas concluded by asking the bishops of the United States to request that their pastors “bring the plights of these poor people to our faithful and generous parishioners and ask for their support, possibly through a second collection.”
Leave a Comment
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.