NEW YORK (Nov. 25)
A recent communique received from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee representative in Ethiopia advised that the overseas relief agency had received permission to operate feeding stations in the Gondar region, according to an announcement made today by JDC executive vice president Ralph Goldman.
The announcement said the JDC has received donations and pledges exceeding $200,000 from concerned Jews and members of the general public since it “opened its mail box” to contributions on October 23. Half of the sum was committed by the Central British Fund — World Jewish Relief of London.
The Emergency Famine Campaign went into high gear in recent weeks in response to a worldwide appeal by the Ethiopian government. According to the JDC, up to a half a million people in Gondar, one of the four provinces especially hard hit by a prolonged drought, face starvation. The major problem, advises the JDC, “is getting the relief supplies to the victims as roads are few and primitive.”
Goldman stated that the JDC is consulting with local authorities to solve the problem of supplying the feeding stations and is also negotiating with A.I.D. to obtain additional food supplies for distribution in the Gondar region in the months to come. “Meantime,” said Goldman, “shipments of still more medical supplies, blankets, cloth, and clothing are being arranged.”
Recent contributions by JDC will enable the shipment of donated food supplies from crowded depots into the interior.
JDC OPERATIONS BEGAN IN 1983
According to the statement issued by JDC, incorporated in one of the executive vice president’s periodic “Reports from the Field,” the JDC began operations in Ethiopia in 1983 when it reached agreement with the government to develop relief and rehabilitation projects in the Gondar region.
Within a few months the JDC has shipped 70 tons of new clothing, cloth and medical supplies valued at $500,000. At the same time, the JDC began assisting in a health program that included the upgrading of clinics and developing manpower to staff rural health stations in the Gondar.
As with previous efforts (Cambodia, 1980; Italy, 1981; and Lebanon, 1982) JDC programs parallel that of Catholic, Protestant, and non-sectarian agencies, providing assistance to disaster victims.
Goldman advised that “while JDC’s immediate aim is to blunt the killing effects of the famine, it is making longer-term plans to improved the quality of life generally in the Gondar region of Ethiopia.” He said those wishing to help may send contributions to Ethiopia Relief, JDC, Room 1914, 60 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10165.
Reports in the daily and Jewish press have noted that the majority of Ethiopian Jews live in the Gondar province.