Africa's Worst Drought in a Generation: How Will We Respond?

We will soon be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with our families and our churches. In a year of many challenges and opportunities, we give thanks for the blessings we have received and remember those who are less fortunate.

This year, I ask you to remember our sisters and brothers in the Horn of Africa. The United Nations has declared that southern Somalia is in the midst of a true famine—a situation so bad that more than 3 in 10 children are acutely malnourished and people are dying daily. A severe drought has killed crops and livestock across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, leaving more than 13 million people without enough food.

A crisis this big should be on the front pages of our newspapers. We must not ignore it!

There are several ways that you can help today. Through our partners at Church World Service and in the ACT Alliance, people of faith are providing food and other essential aid in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. While a civil war continues in Somalia, our humanitarian workers are reaching people in the country and in enormous camps along the borders. Displaced persons and vulnerable rural households in Somalia are receiving emergency food aid and access to sanitation through the work of our partners at Norwegian Church Aid.

In Ethiopia, multiple partners, including Lutheran World Relief, are working to provide emergency food and water, as well as long-term sustainable food and water interventions to drought-affected regions.

CWS has expanded emergency food distributions through local partners in Kenya's Eastern Province, as well as working with the Kitui Diocese to distribute drought-resistant seeds. CWS’s "Water for Life" program continues to help develop water sources in drought-affected areas of Kenya's Rift Valley and Eastern provinces, and has included the construction of 14 sand dams, 11 shallow wells, three borehole wells, one earthen dam and 12 rainwater tanks in 18 Kenyan communities last year.

Please consider joining with Week of Compassion in supporting this response.

Second, please speak out about the need for continued U.S. humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa. Aid that saves a life or creates a more secure future for children is not wasteful spending.

Our leaders need to hear this message now more than ever. Write a letter to your Congressional representative or local newspaper; sample letters are available here and here.

Finally, pray for those who are hungry in the Horn of Africa and around the world. In our places of worship and at our dinner tables, let us remember those in need as we give thanks for the abundance we have received.

This Week's Responses

Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance

Guatemala, floods and mudslides
Illinois, resettled refugee assistance
Oklahoma, earthquake damage