Media CenterU.S. Sec. Of State Anthony Blinken Joins CRS to Launch a Joint Emergency Operation Program in Drought-Stricken Ethiopia

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Kim Pozniak
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(571) 263-1193


Baltimore, MARYLAND, March 16, 2023 On Wednesday, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) launched the Joint Emergency Operation Program (JEOP) in drought-stricken Ethiopia, which will provide $1.3 billion in humanitarian assistance over five years in support of more than 8.5 million people. The JEOP is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

An estimated 21 million people across Ethiopia face food insecurity amidst the country’s worst drought on record.  

“This program will provide immediate relief at a time of great need,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ executive vice president of Mission, Mobilization and Advocacy. “With the unrelenting drought, we are facing a once-in-a-generation emergency. Massive amounts of livestock have died, and crops can’t be grown. In the worst areas, there is no greenery, grass, or pasture for the animals. We are grateful the United States government has continued to provide this type of assistance, which we know saves lives.”  

Several high-ranking Ethiopian and U.S. government officials attended the JEOP launch ceremony, including U.S. Sec. of State Antony Blinken.  

“In spite of the pressing needs, the Ethiopian people are resilient,” O’Keefe said. “We can only hope that with the support of the U.S. government, these drought-stricken communities can survive to see a brighter tomorrow.” 

The JEOP will provide food aid and other humanitarian relief to vulnerable populations. In addition to the newly launched JEOP, CRS and its network of local partners implement programming across Ethiopia that provides safe and dignified shelter to vulnerable communities; water and sanitation support; psychosocial services; and social cohesion activities, supporting crop production, among other programs. 


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding For more information, visit or www.crsespanol.organd follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English atFacebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 


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Kim Pozniak

Director of Communications

Kim Pozniak
March 16, 2023

Based in Baltimore, MD

As the Director of Communications, Kim oversees the communications and social media teams working with journalists and the media to connect them with engaging stories about relief and development programs that are making a tangible difference in people’s lives around the world.

Her previous work at CRS includes handling emergency...More