Mid-1980s: Africa-Wide Drought
Between 1984 and 1986, severe drought ravaged the African continent. Twenty to 30 countries — 300 million people — were affected. Ethiopia's plight was the best known; but people, livestock and crops also were dying elsewhere in Africa.
Africare's extensive drought relief reached severely affected countries such as Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique and Niger. Ongoing water and agricultural work in many countries helped as well. Stateside support to Africare was as diverse as it was generous: religious groups, schools, foundations, businesses, communities and individuals all got involved.
"I have seen many crisis situations," recounted Joseph C. Kennedy, Ph.D., then Africare's senior vice president and director of international development, "but the scenes like these in Ethiopia are the most pitiful in my experience."