Famine horrors far from over in East Africa

By November 7, 2011

East Africa (MNN) — Months later, famine continues to grip as many as 13 million people in the Horn of Africa.

Many were hopeful that the promise of rain would soothe the dry earth. However, the rains that have come may have done more harm than good so far. According to Voice of America News and the UN refugee agency, heavy rains have flooded parts of Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

The flooding has caused severe safety hazards for affected refugee camps. Some refugees have been fleeing the refugee camps to find safer places.

In regions where rain has yet to come, rain is unlikely to help either. Duane Zook with Global Aid Network (GAiN) says rain might provide a little relief, but mostly it will increase the likelihood of disease–especially with hundreds of thousands of people living under makeshift tents built of sticks and cloth.

Zook just returned from East Africa, stunned by what he saw. "The situation in the Horn of Africa is horrible. When I went in there and saw some of the refugee camps and the IDP camps, the pictures I had seen and the stories I had heard really came to life."

Zook says the famine is far from over. Close to a million children under the age of five are severely malnourished. There is a dire "need for food, for clean water. Thousands of children are dying every week, and people need hope."

GAiN has been sent a significant amount of aid. "We have shipped about 15 containers: that's close to four million meals. But that's a drop in the bucket of what is needed," says Zook.

After seeing the horrors of famine and starvation, Zook was encouraged by two things: people have, in fact, noticed the love of Christ, and GAiN is there to stay.

Zook says famine victims frequently asked, "Many people from the West come, and they look at the need, but then we never see them again. Are you going to be any different?" Zook was able to encourage them that GAiN would continue to provide.

GAiN's ongoing presence is not only helpful to those who may otherwise starve, but the consistency also opens more doors for the Gospel.

Providing "food, water filters and water wells help build relationships. Relationships help us build trust, and then trust gives us opportunity to provide hope," says Zook.

GAiN is interested in providing physical aid as well as spiritual nourishment. Pray for more opportunities to do so.

Many around the world may have forgotten about this famine, but its victims still have years of struggling ahead of them. Be a part of bringing them physical relief and spiritual guidance through GAiN. It's only $0.10 to supply a meal for someone in East Africa. Click here to give.

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