SPECIAL REPORTS

More Trouble In The Horn of Africa As Hunger Crisis Worsens

The Worst World Famine In Almost 20 Years

The Specter of Starvation Returns to East Africa © wikimedia commons 

No area of the world is facing a deeper hunger crisis than the Horn of Africa. The five countries that make up the northwest section of Africa are facing a plague of epic proportion. The combination of poor harvests, drought, social unrest, and high food prices have devastated millions of Africans.

The UN in July officially declared famine in five regions of Somalia — Mogadishu, Afgoye, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle and Southern Bakool. Tens of thousands of shallow graves litter these regions. So far some 29,000 children under the age of five are among the buried. By mid-August, 400,000 Somalis had made lucky escapes to the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya, now reportedly the world’s largest. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 12.4 million people the region are in desperate need of food aid. Nearly half a million children are at risk of dying from malnutrition and disease.Devastating factors have come together to form a Growing problem The impact of such a tornado of events coming together to threaten humanity have caused the number of displaced persons to increase by millions. Poverty, high food prices, drought, social unrest have unraveled the fabric of millions of East Africans Most people have found their way into refugee camps. Ability to care for the destitude is also a factor in the camps since they are well beyond the capacity they were designed for. Regardless of the overcrowding, millions pour over the borders from neighboring African nations to seek aid, which has caused issues for those countries in meeting the needs of refugees in that respective country. This creates two enormous problems, hunger and refugees. Now countries have to deal with not just feeding millions, but the compilications that come from disenfranchised people of other nations. Problems arise since countries run the risk of political destabilization as their populations swell beyond their capacity.

Hunger exacerbates the refugee problems. Millions of hungry people from another nation could become aggressive or ravage the native population of the host country as they continue their search for daily necessities like food, water, shelter, and clothing. This makes the need to feed the millions of refugees paramount or potential mobs of foreign dissidents could threaten the host country. The key , of course, is to find a way to get them stabilized and return them home to a stable position in their home country. This goal becomes more difficult to achieve as the plight of the average person in the Horn of Africa gets worse.

The funds on hand by relief organizations are not enough to run the food programs As of 15 August, only 48 per cent of the $2.5 billion needed had been received, says Mark Bowden, the UN coordinator in Somalia. The millions of hungry refugees have to be fed or they will seek food elsewhere. Imagine millions of hungry refugees migrating east to search for food. This could expand the problem into neighboring African regions. The camps themselves are also an issue. As more and more of the population have to leave their home to find food , the strain on relief services in the camp continues.. So what results is the need to feed and house the millions of refugees. There is no end in sight to the crisis and it is unlikely the majority of the displaced population will be able to return home anytime soon.

In order to pursue long term change, the UN food assistant arm (FAO) believes that new development practices must be taken so farmers can increase crop yields and work past particularly dry seasons. On a regional level, the conflict must reach toward peace for the refugee crisis to find a stable point – and that solution is one that no one has answers to right now.

There are ways you can help:

Save the Children is feeding underweight children, providing life-saving medical treatment, and getting clean water to remote communities in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

The organization has launched The 100 Campaign. By raising $100 on your own or through social networks, you can feed one child for 100 days. Go online, give through the Facebook Cause page or text "SURVIVE" to 20222 to donate $10 from the United States.

Action Against Hunger is working to help victims in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and southern Somalia. The organization is providing treatment and medical care for acutely malnourished children, general nutritional support for children under 5 years of age, and emergency access to food, clean water and improved sanitation for vulnerable populations.

To help Action Against Hunger's efforts, text "NOHUNGER" to 20222 to donate $10 from the United States or visit their website.

CARE is reaching a million people affected by the food crisis in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia and working to provide emergency relief to another million. The organization is providing food, water and sanitation facilities in Ethiopia. In Somalia, CARE is rehabilitating water pans and shallow wells and operating cash-for-work programs. Visit the website to make a donation from various countries.

World Concern is on the ground in Somalia distributing aid and medical care to thousands of refugees. Aid workers are providing food and water, emergency medical rations, and sanitation and hygiene to refugees as they trek more than 400 kilometers to refugee camps. Donations can be made online or by calling 1-866-530-LIFE from the United States. Many more organizations are out there making a difference. Join the Journey prays that the Lord touches your heart with the hurt taking place in the Horn of Africa and moves you to action. --- If you are involved in this process of helping the hungry, Join the Journey would like to hear from you. Please e-mail media@jointhejourney.cc.