"The Horn of Africa is facing its third consecutive year of drought causing thirst and hunger, decimating livestock, destroying livelihoods, spreading disease and triggering large scale population movements." There is an almost unimaginable amount of misery contained in this statement from Week of Compassion disaster relief partner, ACT Alliance. Beneath this broad description is a daily struggle to survive by millions of people in what continues to be one of the most under-reported stories of our time.
The horror of this situation is real.
It is so very dry in Somalia that even the famously drought-resistant camels are dying. And in a country where so many people earn their meager livelihoods from agriculture, the death of such animals is life-threatening.
It is so very dry in Kenya, that upwards of 70% of crops failed last year. Imagine having your food intake reduced by 70%. Imagine it for your children. There are over 2.5 million Kenyans who aren't imagining it but are forced to live it - with the consequent increase in infant deaths, stunting of children's development from malnutrition, and increase in devastating disease due to weakened immune systems from lack of adequate nutrition.
A little further to the north, Ethiopia is dealing not only with the devastating effects of drought, but also with ongoing armed conflicts in parts of the country. The government of Ethiopia has declared a state of emergency for the 10 million people affected, and, as our partners note, "Lives remain at risk due to shortage of food and water, and disease outbreaks coupled with malnutrition are prevalent." In South Sudan, IMA World Health staff member Matt
Hackworth says, "Decades of civil war, economic and ecological strife keep South Sudan on the brink of famine. As this is the world's youngest country, it is critical now that caring people around the world- including donors to Week of Compassion - support the men, women and children at risk."
One of those children is named Teer Majak. He was brought to an IMA facility where he was diagnosed as severely malnourished with medical complications including convulsions, loss of appetite, high fever, sunken eyes, and yellowish skin. He was stabilized, his medical conditions addressed, and soon he began to grow and gain weight. In just three weeks he showed significant improvement. Following a stay in an out-patient therapy and feeding program, he was able to be discharged with the hopes of now living a life not wracked with the effects of chronic malnutrition.
The horror is real, but it does not need to be the end of the story. Week of Compassion has been responding to these crises and supporting our partners to provide relief.
Medical feeding centers, like the one that saved Teer provide critical nutrition, as do school feeding programs and supplies of maize and beans, which are distributed in areas of extreme crop loss.
Cash vouchers for food and wages earned through well-restoration projects help bolster agriculture-dependent economies and provide food and water.
Water purification and pond de-silting efforts increase the availability of potable water, and hygiene and sanitation supplies help curtail water-borne diseases.
With your partnership and support, we will continue to help relieve the horrors of famine
Join us in observing a "Global Day of Prayer to End Famine" on June 10, 2018. Global Ministries and World Council of Churches websites have ideas for helping make folks aware of the need around the world on that day.
Continue to seek out stories about this situation and help keep the plight of these brothers and sisters in your and your fellow church members' consciousness.
Make a gift to Week of Compassion designated for famine and drought relief, where 100% of your support will go to provide relief to affected communities.