Lutheran Disaster Response

Our response to disasters in the U.S. and around the world; look for sections of this blog related to specific disaster locations. Comments are welcomed and moderated.

New Resources: Horn of Africa One-Year Later

Posted on September 21, 2012 by Matthew Ley

During the summer of last year major drought spread throughout the Horn of Africa, affecting countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. From the onset the ELCA has been helping in the response, providing cups of water and food to arriving refugees, working with communities to stave off illness and helping local populations leverage their knowledge to better prepare themselves for further disasters. This work has been made possible thanks to generous gifts from people like you.

As a way of marking this occassion and to help share about the good work we as this church are engaged in we share with you the following two Horn of Africa: One Year Later resources:

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Gifts to ELCA Disaster Response allow the church to respond locally and globally in times of need. Donate Now

Ethiopia: LWF Update on Dollo Ado

Posted on January 9, 2012 by Matthew Ley

A new post on the Lutheran World Federation-Department of World Service (LWF-DWS) blog “Fruit Salad” gives an update on the situation in Dollo Ado. This is the camp is located on the Ethiopian side of the Somalia-Ethiopia border. The LWF works here to provide water and sanitation services. The camp has received tens of thousands of new arrivals from Somalia following the drought and famine crisis that continues to affect the Horn of Africa. In May-June 2011 alone, the camp took in over 55,000 new Somali arrivals.

This new update shows that the number of arriving refugees has dropped slightly from 170/day to 100-160/day. Yet, because of the massive number of earlier arrivals the transit camp (first stop for refugees) still has over 8,000 refugees waiting to gain access to the main camp area. The transit camp was originally designed to hold a maximum of 1500. LWF in its work to provide water and sanitation has had to truck in water to meet the increased demand. They have also upped waste management cleaning to a daily activity.

Within the main site a new camp (Bur Amino) has opened with a planned capacity of 40,000. So far 3,000 refugees have moved into this new camp. LWF is working to provide water not just for the refugees but the host community (local Ethiopian community) as well.

Read the full update: Update on Dollo Ado Refugee Camps 27th December 2011

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Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response allow the church to respond globally in times of need. Donate now.

Ethiopia: LWF Update on Dollo Ado Refugee Camp

Posted on December 20, 2011 by Matthew Ley

The situation at the Dollo Ado refugee camp in southern Ethiopia has started to stabilize with the number of new arrivals dropping from 200-300/day in early November to 200-300/week in mid-December. Though the area continues to be plagued by heavy rains and flooding. This has led to difficulty in the delivery of aid like food and water as well as the processing of refugees in the transit center. A welcomed new camp, Bur Amino, has opened and the first few hundred residents have begun to arrive. With a population max of 80,000 this new camp is expected to help alleviate the overcrowding in the other camps and at the transit center.

To learn more, check out the LWF Update.

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Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response allow the church to respond globally in times of need. Donate now.

Horn of Africa Drought: Galemo’s Story

Posted on July 18, 2011 by Matthew Ley

Galemo returning with Water. Credit: ACT/DCA/Fikerte Abebe

As disasters strike it can sometimes be difficult to connect with how our work really impacts people’s lives. This can be especially true for slow-building disasters like droughts, where there is really not one specific event or moment in time that stands for the disaster. We hear and see in the news how people are suffering and we read about how much is being raised in response and how these gifts are being used, but it just doesn’t sink home.

Sometimes we need a story. To connect us with the life of another. To see the face of one impacted by a faceless event. To have it sink home. That’s the way I felt after reading the ACT Alliance story of Galemo.

As it turns out the act of collecting water and food falls, literally, on the backs of the women in Ethiopia. As the drought has worsened conditions, causing wells to run dry and ponds to disappear, women like Galemo must walk farther and try carrying more to save on multiple trips. Even then this is at times not enough. For Galemo, she is only able to pause for a moment to speak about her story as she hopes to get back home to do chores in time to head out for a second multi-hour run for water.

So as I read about the gifts of the ELCA, especially those pre-position in Dec of last year, being used by partners like LWF to provide drinkable water to communities, I think of Galemo’s story. Of how something that seems so simple as providing a glass of clean water for someone can have such an impact. This is what it means to be there, waiting, ready and capable. To not only be Disaster Response but also Disaster Prepared.

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Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response allow the church to respond globally in times of need. Donate now.