by Peter Stanford
THE CATHOLIC bishops' unprecedented appeal in aid of drought victims in Africa, launched on May 21, has topped £1 million, twice its original target.
The appeal is being administered by Cafod, and this week the Director, Julian Filochowski, has welcomed the "marvellous response" by Catholics around the country. He applauded their willingness "to share their resources with victims of drought and famine in Africa".
All the diocesan contributions have been processed. The largest single contribution came from Westminster diocese (£120,754), with Cardiff and Liverpool both passing the £75,000 mark. However, Mr Filochowski emphasised that some of the smaller dioceses had made outstanding donations despite the hardships which many parishoners were suffering as a result of unemployment and the miner's strike.
So far £940,000 of the money has been dispatched to Africa with over half that total going to 'Ethiopia for food, medicines and transportation. Cafod are also administering the Disasters' Emergency Committee Appeal for the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region. That appeal now stands at £2.8 million, and to help cope with the huge amount of post at Cafod's Brixton offices, a team of nine young unemployed people, pensioners and nuns are helping staff to sort the donations.
Reports are arriving of light rains in northern Ethiopia, at the heart of the drought-stricken region, but it has yet to be confirmed if they are substantial enough to begin to alleviate the destruction caused by the drought.