East Africa is in crisis with 16 million people facing desperate food shortages. As is so often the case, it is women and children who suffer the most; more than 800,000 children under five are severely malnourished.
Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan in February and the situation is worsening as food stocks are being depleted. In the midst of this, Tearfund are providing food assistance for over 17,000 people who have been displaced as well as clean water and sanitation to around 65,000 people who don’t have access to these basic needs. They are also providing malnutrition treatment for approximately 50,000 children and pregnant mothers.
In need of a miracle
In one community in Uror County they run a feeding programme, established by funding from the Office of US Disaster Assistance (OFDA). They provide preventive and treatment services for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women suffering from malnutrition. In the year to the end of August 2016 this centre alone saw more than 1,100 cases – more than twice as many as the previous year.
Baby Amira* had been ill since birth, with a combination of vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and skin rashes. Her mother, Najiyya*, was unable to access health services for her child. The already limited health services in the area had been overloaded by an influx of people fleeing violence in other parts of the country.
‘I felt there was nothing to be done,’ recalls Najiyya. ‘I was so hopeless, her condition was out of control. God was the only way to help my child.’
But then Najiyya was referred to the feeding centre. She dared to hope that her child might get well. The treatment Amira received had an immediate impact and her health was soon restored.
‘I am happy and so excited with my child being rescued,’ Najiyya exclaims. ‘She is the fourth child and youngest in the family – the eldest is not able to walk since childhood. I thought that Amira would have also been like her.’
The project also addresses other needs, such as education in health and hygiene and the rehabilitation of boreholes to ensure safe water supplies. As a result, we see children like Amira saved from death and disability. We see families like Najiyya’s able to cope better with the challenges they’re facing.
But with the escalating food crisis there are many more that need immediate help. Somalia is also on the brink of famine and parts of Kenya and Ethiopia are in desperate need. Please pray with us and consider giving to our East Africa Crisis Appeal.
*Names changed to protect identity
Give thanks for the work that Tearfund and our partners have been doing for many years in communities in these countries, for the relationships they have and the help they are already bringing to people.
Lift up those across East Africa who are facing critical food shortages; pray that the Lord will comfort them and provide for them through the generous giving of his people.
Pray for those on the ground responding to the crisis – ask God to give them wisdom and protection as they reach out to those in great need.
We pray because we're desperate for God - to walk with him... in step with his will for the world.
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