Land degradation and climate change are serious realities in Ethiopia," according to Lane Bunkers of Catholic Relief Services. A persistent drought is forcing farmers to abandon traditional rain-reliant practices. Recalling when Ethiopian regimes in the 1970s and 1980s either did not have the capacity or the political will to face a series of famines, the Rev. Hailegebriel Meleku, deputy secretary general of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, said the country is now better poised to address its humanitarian problems, in part because church bodies have been mobilized during recent crises. Father Meleku said the country’s leaders, in partnership with neighboring governments, must begin to find new ways to address the adverse effects of climate change on vulnerable communities. Ethiopia as a whole has escaped the serious food shortages that have devastated large parts of neighboring Somalia. Some Ethiopians, however, have had limited access to food, posing a serious challenge to the country’s leaders, Father Meleku said.