Humanitarian agency moves to assist affected communities through local churches.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Australia is working with local churches to provide support to areas of the country affected by what the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is calling “the worst drought in living memory.”
ADRA, the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, reported that local churches are assessing needs in their communities and providing assistance in partnership with other organizations.
Media outlets in Australia reported that even though rainfall in coastal areas has been above average this year, a good part of that South Pacific nation is suffering the effects of severe and ongoing drought. “Costs of stock feed and transport [are] spiraling,” the ABC reported.
This month, 98 percent of the state of New South Wales and almost two-thirds of Queensland is either in drought or is drought affected, according to news.com.au. Farmers in parts of Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia are also suffering. According to the New York Times, the area in southeastern Australia that has not seen substantial rain in two years is larger than the U.S. state of Texas.
National news outlets in Australia reported that the situation has led to heartbreaking scenes across the country. “Many farmers [have been] forced to slaughter their animals or watch them die in front of their eyes as they struggle to feed and water livestock,” news.com.au said.
In response to the dire situation across rural communities, ADRA officers said the organization will provide funding for local church networks to make an impact in their communities. “In the short term, ADRA will distribute cash cards to people identified as falling through the gaps,” stated a news release, which also asked people to contribute to this relief project.
ADRA officers explained that cash cards provide farmers and others with flexibility, as they can choose to buy necessities such as food, stock feed, or drinking water. “Cash cards can also be used to cover bills, medical costs, or school expenses,” they said.
In the longer term, ADRA is also planning to run a series of depression recovery courses, as it is expected that drought-affected farmers will be faced with more than economic losses.
About ADRA Australia
ADRA Australia works as part of the global ADRA network. Through this network, its reach extends to more than 120 countries. In the Australia home page, ADRA officers state that they work “to inspire and collaborate with others to responsibly facilitate transformational development and relief projects.”
According to an ADRA Australia report, so far in 2018, the agency has invested AUD$16.3 million (about US$12 million) in more than 160 projects. Projects have benefited more than 440,000 people in Australia and overseas, the report said.