Ethiopian slums devastated by floods, locusts, COVID-19
By Alex Anhalt
Ethiopia (MNN) — You name it, and Ethiopia has faced it in the last several weeks. Floods, economic crises, the everpresent coronavirus, and even locusts have hit Ethiopia, and communities already suffering from poverty are ill-equipped to respond.
That’s especially true for Korah, a former leper community turned urban slum. Most locals live in tarp-covered homes or mud huts and make their living scavenging the city dump or begging in the streets.
Month after month of rain during the summer means intense flooding. Dirt floors and walls turn to mud, Road swamp, preventing anyone from traveling or getting good. Plastic roofs give way beneath continued downpouring.
Then, when COVID-19 comes calling, citizens are asked to self-quarantine. That’s much harder to do when your home is a pile of mud and you’re crammed side by side with other impoverished families.
To recap: food is scarce now that locusts are eating it up; prices for what food remains climb higher and higher due to Ethiopia’s economic crisis; floods are sweeping away roads and homes, so locals can’t beg or scavenge to make any money to buy food anyway; and COVID-19 means people are forced to stay away from large public gatherings and markets. The people of Korah have no homes, no food, and no money.
So the local Church is stepping up.
TeachBeyond’s Toi Mears says their organization has provided food and meals for locals in Korah. The meals serve a double purpose; not only do locals have access to food that would otherwise be restricted behind rising prices, but they also get snippets of educational and devotional material.
Their schools have been forced to close by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’ve managed to find ways to continue providing education for the people of Korah. Their food programs, although limited, do allow teachers to sporadically reach their students. They’ve also held small groups to provide some level of normalcy for young students. When those were shut down, they started meeting mothers via in-home visits to continue their adult education programs.
Mears asks that you pray “for protection and that these families will see Christ in our staff, and just see the goodness that he is providing for them during this tough time.”