ELCT Press Release

Date: March 14, 2010
Press release No. 002/03/2010

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Church offers food aid and seeds to drought hit areas
by Elizabeth Lobulu

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) has provided more than 210 metric tons of food to aid people in northern Tanzania facing hunger as a result of a prolonged drought that occurred in the 2008/ 2009 period.

The ELCT Deputy Secretary General for Planning and Development, Mr. Mallumbo W. Mallumbo said recently that priority in food distribution was given to the destitute including the elderly, widows, orphans and the disabled.

He said that the financial reality allowed the church to distribute 162 metric tons of cereals out of which 36 metric tons were distributed late October in Ngorongoro District and 36 metric tons in Longido in Arusha Region.

In Kilimanjaro Region some nine metric tons went to Hai District, nine metric tons to Siha District while Rombo District on Kenyan border got 36 metric tons; Same and Mwanga Districts each received 18 metric tons.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria in Germany through “Mission Eeine Welt” provided TSh 108 million (Euros 60,000) that has enabled the church to start the distribution of food in late October and November last year reaching more than 10,000 people.

Food stored at Fuka collection center before distribution to villagers in
Northern Diocese. [(c) 2009 ELCT Image/ M.W. Mallumbo]

The initial plan was to mobilize food aid in terms of maize and beans for at least six months for 727,065 people affected by drought in Arusha, Manyara, Karatu, Same and Mwanga Districts but with Euros 60,000 the money was adequate to feed just 8,000 people for one-and-half months.

In early February this year two churches in Germany made available TSh 48m (Euros 25,000) to procure about 58 metric tons of maize out of which 48 metric tons were distributed to more than 3,000 people in six villages of ELCT Pare Diocese while another 10 metric tons will be distributed to two villages in Monduli District. The funds came through the Leipzig Mission offices in Germany from the Mecklensburg Lutheran Church and another church abbreviated EKM.

Bones, bones and more bones everywhere in September 2009 as wild and domestic animals died
in thousands due to drought in the northern parts of Tanzania. [(c) 2009 ELCT Image/ M.W. Mallumbo]

In early September last year when Mr. Mallumbo was on a fact finding mission in the affected areas he witnessed a lot of carcasses of cows and wild animals. In Longido on the Kenyan border, Mr. Mallumbo in the company of ELCT North Central Diocese pastors met with Ole Lawasare a Masai pastoralist who lost 299 cows out of 300 due to the drought. The pastoralist expressed helplessness when Mr. Mallumbo paid him a visit in September when the drought was at its height.

Mr. Mallumbo said “even though the short rain season had set in mid December, farmers could not do anything to reverse the food shortage situation then unless they waited for the heavy rains in March this year when they would plant seeds.”

Ole Lawasare in Longido District near the Kenyan border, lost 299 cows
out of a 300 cattle-herd and when an assessment team visited him
September 2009 he had lost hope. [(c) 2009 ELCT Image/ M.W. Mallumbo]

In order to avert food aid dependency in the 2010/2011 planning year, Bavaria donated TSh 180 Million (Euros 100,000) to enable the Planning Department of ELCT to purchase 27,000 kg of maize seeds for Meru Diocese to get 8,000 kg; North Central Diocese (7,000 kg); Pare Diocese (6,000 kg) and Northern Diocese (6,000 kg).

He explained that the seeds will be distributed in early March to the communities fully engaged in agricultural activities just before the long rains set in. However the pastoralists who lost their animals and means of livelihood will still need food aid for the next one-and-half months.

The pastoralist were hit hard as the 2008/ 2009 drought had deprived their livelihood through
the loss of their animals including goats which they normally sell in exchange for
foodstuff and other necessities. September (c) 2009 ELCT Image/ M.W. Mallumbo

Mallumbo has taken a number of snapshots depicting dead animal carcasses and the dried areas and he appealed once again for food aid from partners and other stakeholder to help the pastoralists who are still in need of their “daily bread”.

Women signing to receive food relief at Ngarenanyiki in Meru Diocese on 18 Dec. 2009.
[(c) 2009 ELCT Image/ E. Lobulu]

Meetings were held in the villages to ensure transparency in food distribution.
[(c) 2009 ELCT Image/ E. Lobulu]

Challenges of food distribution: Food was sometimes off-loaded due to poor infrastructure at the
onset of the short rains in December last year. [(c) 2009 ELCT Image/ M.W. Mallumbo]


Elizabeth Lobulu
Communication Coordinator,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania
Box 3033, ARUSHA, Tanzania.
Phone: +255-27-250-8856/7
FAX: +255-27-254-8858
E-mail: Elizabeth Lobulu <ELobulu@elct.or.tz>

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For more information contact:

Elizabeth Lobulu
Communication Desk Officer, ELCT
E-mail: ELobulu@elct.or.tz