There’s so much happening these days, in our own country and around
the world, that it can be hard to keep up. The following is an update on
some of the situations around the world where the Foodgrains Bank is
responding, or is hoping to be able to respond.
On Monday, February 6th two massive earthquakes struck Türkiye and Syria killing more than 50,000 people. Even before this earthquake, our members’ work continued in Syria.
While the active conflict in Syria is less widespread than in past years, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance continues to increase. The economy has deteriorated to the point where people who were once able to earn a steady, middle-class income have used up their savings and are struggling to cope, with little end in sight.
It’s been over 10 years now that Foodgrains Bank members and their partners have been providing food assistance to people within Syria, as well as to people who have fled the conflict to neighbouring countries. Before our earthquake relief efforts started, we’d been able to get food to 9,678 families (about 52,000 people) in the past year, thanks to donors and the Canadian government. However, as the price of food increases and earthquake recovery efforts continue, it’s getting harder and harder for our Syrian partners to reach as many people. It’s a difficult situation, and one in which we invite you to join with us in prayer.
ADVOCACY FOR AID ACCESS IN AFGHANISTAN
Through the Aid for Afghanistan coalition, the Foodgrains Bank and other aid organizations called on the federal government to remove barriers to life saving aid and assistance in Afghanistan. Almost 10,000 Canadians joined by sending letters and emails. In March, the federal government introduced Bill C 41, that will allow Canadian aid agencies to provide humanitarian support without the fear of criminal prosecution.
The coalition has worked with all parties to ensure these amendments are passed effectively and efficiently so that aid can reach those who need it most. Now that aid agencies are once again able to operate within Afghanistan, the Foodgrains Bank, through our member Presbyterian World Service & Development, is ready to respond. Read the full statement on the passage of Bill C-41 here.
We’re grateful for how many of you responded to our pleas to help provide emergency food for people in Somalia over the last year. Through our members, we’re providing emergency food assistance for 15,258 people and reaching 72,360 people with emergency nutrition services.
Somalia has made headlines for its near-catastrophic rainy season failure and the near-famine conditions families are facing. People are dying and livelihoods are being destroyed. Staff and partners continue working to save as many people as they can. Please remember Somalia in your prayers.
PAKISTAN FLOOD UPDATE
“We have prepared our lands to have a better yield in the coming year. May God help us grow, flourish lands and enable us to sell our yield for a good price. This will help us grow economically and financially.” – Mohammad Ashraf, a community member in Khairpur.
Since the devastating floods in Pakistan last summer, we’ve been working to help families in the region of Khairpur get enough food to eat while flood waters slowly recede and they rebuild their lives and livelihoods. Our member Presbyterian World Service & Development is supporting their partner Community World Service Asia in providing this humanitarian assistance that is helping 6,625 families.
Thanks to the support of many generous Canadians, we were able to provide emergency food via cash transfers to about 6,000 people from the port city of Kherson, Ukraine. The project was implemented by ADRA Ukraine between May 2022 and March 2023. Families received cash they could use to buy food at local markets, allowing them to choose food their families preferred, while supporting local markets.
We’re grateful for the commitment of local staff helping the most vulnerable in often unsafe conditions. Through ADRA, we are also responding to the needs of Ukrainian refugees who have sought safety in the neighbouring country of Moldova.
This story was originally published in the 2023 Spring edition of Breaking Bread. Download or order your copy here.