Clara man on a personal mission to provide aid to Ethiopia
The Ethiopian region is special for Clara-born Ronan. Last week, he arrived at Addis Ababa airport with a heavy heart to witness the extent of the crisis, which has left more than 20 million people in desperate need.
Representing the Irish Emergency Alliance and Self Help Africa, where he works, Ronan travelled to Ethiopia in order to highlight one of Africa’s most terrible food crises for 40years.
His visit was partly triggered by a conversation he had with his 12-year-old daughter Sophie not long ago. She implored her dad to do what he could do to highlight the difficult situation of millions of Ethiopians devastated by food shortages generated by successive failed harvests.
He explained, “Sophie is old enough to understand that the country of her birth is in deep trouble. While the television is full of nightly bulletins about the war in Ukraine, she said to me that people needed to pay attention to the tragedy that was unfolding in Africa.”
One out of five people in this region face food shortages this year, and millions of people have moved out of their lands because of crop failures as a result of climate change.
The estimation of livestock that has died is up to nine million.
Ronan continued: “Rising food, fuel and fertiliser prices, resulting from the war in Ukraine, has made the situation even more severe while spiralling inflation has pushed food and commodity prices beyond the reach of what many families can afford.”
In the past, droughts did not always get so disastrous. However, more erratic rainfall patterns, and greater frequency, combined with economic, environmental and social factors, have made recent droughts have a devastating impact on communities.
Ronan, during last week’s visit, visited a refugee camp located at Debre Birhan, which is less than two hours from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Here, he observed about 80,000 people lived in cramped conditions with little sanitation.
According to him, a recent plea by Self Help Africa has permitted the organisation to support 2,000 families with help, while the organisation worked throughout the country helping thousands of farming families in adapting their method of farming to fit the changing climate.