EDP readers' cash still gives life

They prayed for rain. And it came. But what has been a blessing in some parts of Africa has caused major devastation in other areas, with whole towns submerged and bridges, farms and schools washed away.

They prayed for rain. And it came.

But what has been a blessing in some parts of Africa has caused major devastation in other areas, with whole towns submerged and bridges, farms and schools washed away.

This time last year the EDP reported from an area of Tanzania which had had no substantial rain for three years, leading to a famine and drought which claimed the lives of innocent men, women and children. It was only thanks to generous readers, who donated more than £70,000 to the EDP's Dying of Thirst Appeal, that thousands of children suffering in the remote Kiteto area were provided for in such hard times.

Now, as our photograph shows, the rains have been and there has been a harvest for the first time in years.

Bishop John Hayden, who came to the EDP appealing for help for the children in his inhospitable diocese, said: "The most recent flooding in Africa is far to the north of us at the moment. The rains are due for us again in November. Last year was the first time in three years that they came.

"I think we can rejoice that this has been a good year after years of really bad stuff."

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The former Norwich School pupil, who has either worked in, or frequently visited, the country since 1968, said the EDP money had been used to help children aged four to seven in the Masai steppe area of Tanzania with food, water and medical care. "From what I am told the schools are nearly all operating, so the EDP appeal has led to 4,000 children having an education they would not have received," he said

"Basically the appeal has had a long-term effect and for that I am delighted because it is very easy for such appeals to meet an immediate need and then it all disappears like water in sand. By careful targeting we achieved the rescue operation but have built something that lasts.

We are expecting any day funds to build three more schools, two of which are funded from Suffolk. Of course we are a long way from 100 school buildings but we are working away in the right direction. We are still using the remaining EDP funds to make sure the children have good education, health and where needed food."

Other areas of Africa have not been as fortunate. More than a million people across at least 17 countries have been affected by the rains since the summer, according to the United Nations.

At least 200 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

In Uganda, one of the hardest-hit countries, humanitarian workers were trying to reach villages that have been cut off by water amid warnings of food crises and rising risk of disease outbreaks.

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