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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 18, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 19Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Church shipping wheat to Ethiopia and Eritrea
Deseret News 18Jun00 N1

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The LDS Church is shipping 8 million pounds of wheat from its farms near Cambridge, England to Eritrea and Ethiopia to help avert famine in the area. The assistance is in response to reports from the UN World Food Program that 8 million people face starvation because of food shortages that could be as deadly as the 1984-85 disaster that killed nearly 1 million.

The shipments come as Ethiopia and Eritrea have signed a peace-pact in their disastrous two-year-old border war that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands and prevented aid from reaching the region. Under the pact, a 600-man UN peacekeeping force will patrol the border. The peace accord was brokered by the Organization for African Unity.

"When so many lives are threatened, we felt we had to respond in a significant way," said H. David Burton, presiding bishop of the church. "Our Humanitarian Service field assessment team has traveled to Ethiopia and reports that there is an immediate need for food grains to avert a severe famine. We have begun shipping the first 2,000 tons of wheat from our farms in England, while additional grain is being packed." LDS Church members in England have volunteered to bag the wheat.

The wheat comes from the LDS Church's AgReserves England company, a farm holding company, which is donating the grain and half the shipping costs. The rest of the shipping costs will be covered by LDS Church humanitarian funds from Canada.

Two LDS couples will help distribute the wheat. Rex and Jolene Walker of Emmett, Idaho are serving a proselyting mission in Ethiopia and Sherman and Karma Sheffield of Kaysville, Utah are serving a humanitarian service mission, overseeing the Church's humanitarian work in Kenya and Ethiopia.


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