The areas worst aected by thecurrent amine include many o theMuslim-majority areas o Ethiopia.In these parts Christians are avulnerable minority, who could beneglected in general aid distribution.Barnabas Fund is thereore helpingthrough eeding schemes, workingwith local Christian organisations totake ood to some o the aectedareas, including where anti-Christianviolence has recently occurred.
In one project, Barnabas Fundassists with providing direct ood aid,including grains and oil, to 200 amilies.Additionally we have sent money to unda community programme run by a localchurch, providing them with te(a traditional ood plant in Ethiopia),salt, onions, beans and spices. Anotherproject provides 1,200 people withbasic staple oods such as wheat andoil, covering needs or about two months.
Anti-Christian violence is increasing.In 2007 several churches and Christianhomes were set on re or bombed,and church leaders and other Christianull-time workers were attacked andbeaten by Muslim extremists. InFebruary 2008 a Christian couple, whohad both converted recently rom Islam,were beaten during a meeting withMuslim leaders in Addis Ababa whenthey reused to deny Christ. Theollowing month Muslim extremistsattacked two churches in the village oNensebo Chebi in the Oromiya regionduring Sunday worship. One man waskilled and several people had theirhands or arms severed as they tried toprotect their necks rom the macheteso their attackers.
Drought, poor harvest and large increases in ood prices have let millions opeople in ve East Arican countries in desperate need o emergency oodaid. While the amine is also threatening the surrounding countries Somalia,Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda, Ethiopia nds itsel at the epicentre o thisimpending catastrophe. The United Nations estimates that about 4.6 millionEthiopians are aected, and around 75,000 children are at immediate risk ostarvation as rains ailed earlier this year, leading to one o the worst droughtin years. Fears o another amine like the one that struck the country in1984-85 and killed around a million people are emerging; also, manyEthiopians are still recovering rom the last crisis in 2003 when about13.2 million Ethiopians were dependent on oreign ood aid.
Helping our Christian brothers and sisters
Ethiopia has considered itsel aChristian country since the ourthcentury, and in recent centuries hasbeen very conscious o its position asan “island” o Christianity surroundedby a “sea” o Islam. In act, thepercentage o the population callingthemselves Christian is now onlyabout 60% with Muslims estimatedat anything rom 32% to 45%.
The increasing infuence o Islam,especially o Saudi-unded Wahhabiextremism, is very noticeable. Manynew mosques and Muslim schools arebeing built, even in remote villages.Because o the government’s policy oregional administration, it is easy orMuslims to gain local political power.Foreign Islamists rom countries such asAghanistan and Somalia have come toEthiopia to spread anti-Christian teachingand to discourage Ethiopian Muslimsrom having any contact with Christians.This is challenging the relativelyharmonious Christian-Muslim relations,which existed in Ethiopia not so long ago.
Baptising new believers in EthiopiaThese two Ethiopian Christians, Dereba,a student aged 20, and Noru, a farmerand father of seven children, wereseverely injured when Muslims attackedtheir churches during Sunday serviceon 2 March 2008Grain has become especially important as droughts this year have once againled to a poor harvest in hunger-stricken EthiopiaFood is being unloaded from trucksto help feed those affected by thefamine in Ethiopia
Facts and fgures:
is one o thepoorest countries in theworld, ranking among thebottom 10 in the 2007/2008Human Development Index.
o its population liveson less than
a day, with
living on less than
the populationis under
years old, andlie expectancy is at about
•The infant mortality
rate is about
Pooragricultural practices,the uncertain status oEthiopia’s main exportproduct coee, requentdroughts, wars withneighbouring countriesand internal conficts allcontribute to the struggleso this country.
Children receive their much-neededfood in one of the churches thatBarnabas Fund supportsAreas worst affected by the famineinclude many Muslim-majority areas