Rome, Friday, September 2, 2011
Mark Banga, comboni lay missionary (CLM) working with his wife Maggie in Southern Ethiopia, sends us an update on the emergency programs being implemented by the Vicariate of Awassa, where many Comboni missionaries are present. “The time since July – Mark writes – has been hectic here to assess the intensifying humanitarian crisis in the diocese. Thankfully, the situation is not as desperate as in Somalia, but it is deteriorating quickly. The worst hit area in the Vicariate is among the Borana people, in the south of the country.”
Mark describes how the emergency program is organized in the Vicariate of Awassa. “I am part of the emergency taskforce asked to plan the response of the Catholic Church through the Awassa Catholic Secretariat, the main coordinating office for the Vicariate. Another CLM, Tracy Doyle, a new arrival to the province, is also a member of the taskforce. We completed and participated in three different needs assessments, and now we have finalized our plans to begin implementing three emergency programs beginning immediately.”
Mark continues: “We are a small group of three CLM here in Ethiopia, and God has somehow guided (or pushed) us all into responding to the crisis. My wife Maggie, who is a health professional, will be heading to Borana zone for the next couple of months to assist the launching of the emergency feeding programs to children and pregnant/breastfeeding mothers through the Dadim health centre. The religious sisters there, the Sisters of Charity, are truly wonderful and they have a big task ahead, so they asked Maggie to come and help as she can. As for Tracy and me, we will carry on to work on the administrative and management side here from Awassa.”
In their report, the CLM are grateful for the donations received and they thank the efforts made so far to help our brothers and sisters in need. “We have received beautiful support from our partners and donors, and on this front, we feel very encouraged. God has truly been providing the resources needed to reach out to those in need.”
The attached document gives a full update on the situation, the challenges that our communities are facing and the response programs prepared for the emergency.