The numbers tell the story of perhaps one of the most devastating famines in recent history:
- 4.7 million children in Ethiopia under age five face acute malnutrition;
- Almost ten million livestock have died throughout Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia;
- 4.1 million people in Kenya and 7.1 million in Somalia are food insecure.
With four consecutive seasons without rain and predictions of a fifth drought coming, crops and livestock are dying across the east African region, leaving families without food and livelihoods. Children are the most vulnerable and experts predict will be the first victims, with almost half a million children expected to die of hunger this year alone.
‘The number of people facing starvation is expected to rise to 20 million overall in the next month,’ said Melissa Lipsett, CEO of Baptist World Aid. ‘If the rains don’t come and food prices continue to skyrocket, it will be a matter of life and death for families in the Horn of Africa. International aid is crucial right now.’
Lipsett, along with the Emergency Action Alliance (EAA), welcomed a commitment of $5 million from the Australian Government to the EAA Hunger Crisis Appeal. Each donation to the alliance will go directly to trusted members like Baptist World Aid Australia, who are providing urgent aid, including food, clean water and emergency shelter.
‘Sadly, the media seem to have overlooked this unparalleled hunger crisis and many Australians don’t seem to know that famine is a cruel reality in Africa and other parts of the world,’ Lipsett said. ‘But the numbers don’t lie; millions are facing an unthinkable—but completely preventable—food crisis. We have a great opportunity to respond as followers of Christ in feeding the least of these.’
With the severe hunger crisis reaching catastrophic levels, the EAA appeal will provide critical aid for families and children affected throughout the region. Christian Partners with Baptist World Aid will also continue to respond through specific programming in Kenya and other parts of the region, both with immediate assistance and long-term recovery and agricultural projects.
‘Hunger and famine are not a part of God’s plan. He never intended that families, and especially children, would starve,’ Lipsett said. ‘God provides through his people and this global crisis is calling all of us to respond with urgency so that the most vulnerable can move closer to the fullness of life God intends. We are grateful for the support of all Australians as we face this crisis together.’