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Friday, March 24, 2017
Appeal launched for Eritrea
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¬†Caritas International, which CAFOD belongs to, has launched a £1.4 million appeal for drought relief for Eritrea. The appeal will help Eritrea's people cope with the effects of the ongoing drought and the lingering hardships from the conflict in 2000 with neighbouring Ethiopia. As a consequence of the war, more than 60,000 displaced people still live in temporary camps in the country. Approximately 35,000 refugees are still awaiting repatriation, after 100,000 reportedly returned from the Sudan by the end of 2003. Aid will be distributed through church clinics and village distribution points. The drought has already killed a great number of families, livestock, and goats or lambs will be given to 1,500 farming households, with priority to poor female-headed households. Emergency medicine will also be provided to the sick through 29 church clinics and health centres, and two mobile clinics will continue to operate in the region of Gash Bark. Lies Gunbie, CAFOD's Eritrean Programme Officer, said: "Eritrea is still struggling with the consequences of four successive years of drought and the lingering after-effects of a bitter conflict with neighbouring Ethiopia. Through this appeal, the Catholic Church in Eritrea is intending to assist some of the nearly two thirds of the population living below the poverty line to withstand another year of hardship by assisting their capacities to cope." Since 2001, CAFOD's partner, the Eritrean Catholic Secretariat has provided supplementary feeding to 30,000 children under age five, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. Health clinics with facilities to care for people with HIV/AIDS were also reconstructed to help the internally displaced. Thirty thousand households were provided with seeds to replant their fields, and new bore-holes were drilled and fitted with hand pumps to provide fresh water. Eritrea relies heavily on its agricultural sector, but, due to the conflict in 2000, the agricultural cycle was broken, severely compromising the country's already limited irrigation potential, in fact, less than two percent of the total cultivated area is irrigated. Sixty-six percent of Eritrea's population of 3.56 million is considered to be below the poverty level, with extreme poverty afflicting 37 percent.
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