One aspect of the ELCA’s unique position within disaster response is the breadth and depth of our direct relationships. With approximately 240 missionaries in 48 countries and 120 companion synod relationships between ELCA synods and other global Lutheran churches, our response to disaster is also a response to the needs of our brothers and sisters. So when we started to hear that the drought in the Horn of Africa might be spreading to Tanzania we turned to this network to learn more.
From the ELCA Regional Representative for Tanzania and Madagascar Barbara Hinderlie (firstname.lastname@example.org) we have been learning of the growing need in Tanzania. She shared that approximately 1.8 million people are affected by drought over three districts, and that the Tanzanian government is assessing the situation with a report expected in mid-September. This report could then open the way for aid organizations like the ACT Alliance, of which the ELCA is a member, to begin responding.
Through a conference call in which 7 ELCA synods in companion relationships with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania participated (Delaware-Maryland Synod, Greater Milwaukee Synod, Northern Great Lakes Synod, South Carolina Synod, Southeast Michigan Synod, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Western Iowa Synod), we heard of how these synods have been in direct contact with their companions as the situation has developed. They shared their companions’ concerns of failed crops not harvested, growing inflation of food prices and the particular concern of mandatory energy rationing. Some Tanzanian dioceses were reporting only 1-2 hours of electricity a day. The reason for this is that much of the energy in Tanzania comes from hydroelectric plants, but with lower water levels these plants have not been able to produce enough energy for the country.
As this situation evolves and we learn more, we will continue share the message of our partners overseas and at home. We give thanks for the work of our ELCA missionaries and synods as they continue to live out their relationships with our companions. Please keep them and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania in prayer, that these relationships may remain strong and the lines of communication open. So as need becomes known we can respond quickly and appropriately, strengthened by a spirit of mutual understanding and accompaniment.
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