As famine worsens, ministry relief fund falls far short

By August 4, 2011

Kenya (MNN/BGR) — The worst famine to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years
continues to take a deadly toll.

Tens of thousands of Somalis have been straggling across the borders to find
relief in the camps.  However, relief may
be short-lived. The Southern Baptist
World Hunger Fund is running out of money, and that was before the current African
famine crisis.

The United Nations has officially declared famine in two regions of Somali,
for the first time since 1992. Estimates
are that nearly four million people need urgent humanitarian assistance. Eight
million more people need food help in Kenya and Ethiopia.

It could take up to $1.4 billion to save the lives of some 12 million people
across the Horn of Africa in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti, according
to the latest reports from the UN. Although already severe, experts predict a
peak to the crisis this month and next, but they warn it could go beyond that. 

Baptist Global Response partners with the Southern Baptists in this
region. Jeff Palmer, executive director
of Baptist Global Response, warns that due to the money shortages, they may not
be able to respond with the strength they'll need. "We are now at a ‘red alert' time for our
human needs funding."

Palmer continues, "The overseas hunger relief fund is down to $4.1 million —
enough to meet the needs of Southern Baptist international hunger projects for
six months. We are approaching a baseline where we are going to have to start
denying funds to critical projects.

Palmer points out that WHF projects help the poorest of the poor, the most
neglected and marginalized, and some of the most lost people groups in the world
in the name of Christ. Because the drought-affected area of Africa's Horn is
dominated by Islam, the hope of the Gospel sometimes has difficulty penetrating
under more traditional efforts.

This year's drought could be an open door, especially considering many
people still have not recovered from the serious drought of 2009. In the past
few years, Southern Baptist world hunger projects have totaled more than
$250,000 in the Horn of Africa, helping families re-establish their footing by
providing food, start-up livestock, and clean water projects.

As this latest crisis gains momentum, BGR relief workers and national
partners are exploring ways to make the greatest impact for the most at-risk. Click here if you can help.


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