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
"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.