The National Catholic Review
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A Catholic aid official who just returned from Eritrea described children too weak to walk and orphanage staffers overwhelmed by the number of children being dropped off because their families cannot feed them. “Unless you’ve been there and seen it, you cannot understand the gravity of the situation,” says Gabriel Delmonaco of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. “We are trying to save one life at a time.” Nearly half of Eritrea’s population is undernourished, and more than 85,000 children are malnourished as a result of widespread famine, according to Amnesty International. Eritrea’s 2002 drought resulted in severe water shortages and an almost complete failure of that year’s harvest. Since then, rainfall has been inadequate, and last year’s drought made conditions significantly worse.