Church Sends Atmit to Ethiopia

“Church Sends Atmit to Ethiopia,” Liahona, January 2009, N4

Church Sends Atmit to Ethiopia

The Church sent more than 1.4 million pounds (635 tonnes) of Atmit, special food for the severely malnourished, to Ethiopia over a span of three months, with the final shipment scheduled to arrive in the drought-stricken country by November 2008.

At least 14 million Ethiopians were in need of food or cash assistance. While the crisis stemmed mainly from a severe drought that destroyed the entire spring crop in some places, the country has also dealt with high food prices, a number of disasters, and a rebellion in the Somali region that disrupted food delivery.

Remembering the significant aid the Church provided during the 2003 famine, government officials in Ethiopia sent a request for help. The Church answered by sending more than 30 containers of Atmit to the country. Beginning in late August and ending in October, the Church shipped five containers per week to the country, with each shipment taking six to eight weeks to arrive.

As in 2003 the Church worked closely with Project Mercy, a nongovernmental relief agency with experience in Ethiopia. In close coordination with the Ethiopian government, Project Mercy oversaw the distribution of the Atmit.

Atmit is a mixture of oat flour, powdered milk, sugar, salt, vitamins, and minerals that is mixed with water and cooking oil to reach the consistency of cream soup. It has been proven a successful resource for feeding the severely malnourished.

The Church first sent food aid to Ethiopia in 1985 as the country suffered through a yearlong famine that killed more than one million people. During Ethiopia’s 2000 food crisis, grain from Church-owned farms in England was bagged by British members and shipped to the country, and in 2003 the Church provided more than 5,000 tons (4,500 tonnes) of supplementary food to distressed areas.

The Church provided 1.4 million pounds of Atmit to famine-stricken Ethiopia.

Photograph by Adam C. Olson