Millions of people are on the verge of a severe food crisis in parts of Africa including Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea, Yemen and Ethiopia. Several years of consecutive drought and harsh weather conditions have left many suffering severe water shortages and loss of pastures for their stock.
The Kenyan government has declared the drought a ‘national disaster.’ The governments of both Kenya and neighbouring Ethiopia warn that several million people in each country will require food, nutrition and livelihood support in the coming months. CARE has estimated that more than 15 million people are currently affected by drought in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia alone, among them thousands of pregnant women and nursing mothers.
“Women and girls are the most affected by droughts and food crises. As families are skipping meals and only eat once a day, women and girls eat last and the least,” said a CARE official.
In Somalia, women and girls often have responsibility for herding small livestock and collecting water. Now that most water points have dried up, they are having to now walk many kilometres further in search for water.
Pope Francis has urgently appealed for food aid to help millions of South Sudanese “condemned to death by hunger”. His plea follows the United Nation’s declaration of famine in the stricken country, where thousands of children are severely malnourished and more than 5 million people are urgently in need of food and agricultural assistance.
Let us bring these suffering people to our prayer in the coming weeks.
May we each be ready to take some action during Lent to support agencies involved in humanitarian and emergency aid in Africa and other areas of need.
May we use our voices or letter writing campaigns to advocate that generous aid to be given to the people and places most in need.