Amity launches ‘Living Water’ for drought victims in Ethiopia

In responds to the humanitarian crisis in Africa’s drought affected regions, the Amity Foundation has launched its so far largest humanitarian aid project in Africa. The commencement ceremony of the Living Water project was held in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on 20th July, 2017. Amity would work closely with its local partner LWF Ethiopia and provide water trucking to people in parched regions during the coming months.

After two consecutive years of drought, Eastern and Southern Ethiopia are in the grip of a new drought in 2017, causing a severe food and water security crisis. The situation is said to be triggered and worsened by El Nino and climate change, as the annual rainfalls become less or fail entirely.

The aim of Amity’s Living Water drought relief project is to support Ethiopians who are facing thirst, starvation and illnesses. The funds raised would be used to ease the lack of clean water and improve hygiene for people living in Harshin and Keberibeyah, two of the most seriously affected areas of Fafan Zone, Somali Region in East Ethiopia. The Disaster Relief Fund Hong Kong approved a grant of HKD 4.64 million to the Amity Foundation Hong Kong to provide clean water, water purifiers and hygiene packs. It is planned that the ermergency WASH relief project will benefit in total almost 49,000 people in more than 7,400 households.

Guests of honor and donors during the commencement ceremony

Ms. Sophie Gebreyes, director of LWF Ethiopia, Mr. He Wen, the Deputy Secretary of the Amity Foundation and representatives from governments and international agencies attended the commencement ceremony and explained about the project.

Mr. He Wen, Deputy Secretary from Amity Foundation, thanked the Ethiopian government, Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia and collaboration partners for their support. “With the financial aid of HKSAR government, 7409 households in Somali can enjoy basic necessities”, he said. Living Water is the largest charity project Amity Foundation is doing in Africa and it will be Amity’s second project in Ethiopia. He Wen expressed his hope that people across the globe can tackle climate change through collaboration.

Ms. Sophia Gabreyes from LWF introduced her organization’s ongoing humanitarian projects. She expressed her pleasure and gratitude of the cooperation with the Amity Foundation. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” she quoted a Chinese idiom and expressed her hope that people will continue to engage in charitable projects in Ethiopia.

Mr. He Wen is mentioning the importance of jointly tackle climate change (left). Ms. Sophia Gebreyes is expressing her gratitude of cooperation (right)

Mr. Kai Gatkouth from African Union commented that climate change had exerted great pressure on development of African countries. He said: “Water supply could relieve the impact of the drought shortly. However, in the long run, emphasis should be placed on disaster prevention and reduction.”  Mr. Kai Gatkouth emphasized that the African Union should advocate for those ideas and governments should formulate policies and facilitating relevant programs.

Mr. Wu Shixiang, a representative of Chinese entrepreneurs in Ethiopia said: “Living Water offers an opportunity for Chinese entrepreneurs to participate in charitable projects in Ethiopia. I hope there will be more active engagement in other projects to help Ethiopians in the future.” At the end of the ceremony, three Chinese companies donated three storage tanks to relieve the lack of water storage facilities in Somalia.

After the ceremony, a cooperation agreement betwenn LWF and Amity was signed. Then, Amity staff went to the project areas and witnessed the water crisis first-hand.

After the ceremony in the capital Addis Ababa, Amity staff traveled to the project area to assess the situation

Amity's Deputy General Secretary, He Wen is talking to a village water committee (left). The water tanks in the region are parched or in an alarming state polluted. This situation is seriously endangering the health of the local population (right).