Kenya (MNN) — The amount of suffering is devastating. Thousands of people are finding their way to refugee camps in the Horn of Africa, only to find that food is hard to come by there, too. Mothers have lost most of their children as they've walked for days without food and little water. Some children are getting help, but for many it's too late.
The United Nations is calling it the worst famine in 20 years. Nearly 12 million people are affected by this disaster which is affecting Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Djibouti.
Duane Zook, president of Global Aid Network (GAiN USA), says the situation is shocking and they are getting involved. "1,200 malnourished children are crossing the border into a refugee camp every day, some without parents. Some families have walked over a month looking for food, water, and shelter."
GAiN USA has been working with a ministry partner in the region for a number of years. "They have asked us to help them work in about 25 camps consisting of almost 7,000 families," says Zook.
Not only do they not have food and water, but their temporary shelters are inadequate. "They've just pulled clothing out of garbage bins [and] put them over sticks just to make a home."
Most of those affected by the drought are herdsman, and most of their cattle have died. Zook describes one man's desperation: "His last cow died. It was so skinny it had no meat on it to eat. So he took the hide into town to sell it for $2 to get a little bit of food for his family."
Ten containers full of food have been donated to GAiN USA's efforts. One should arrive in country any day. Funding for two others has already been provided. Zook says, "We'd like to be able to send the other seven which includes about 1.7 or 1.8 million meals. But unless we're able to receive the funding for that, we're not going to be able to send it. The exciting thing is that it only costs 10 cents a meal to send and distribute a meal."
As GAiN provides food, water, and medicine, they're able to answer the most popular question: "Why are you doing this for us?" Zook says their reply is: "'We're doing this because God loves us, and we believe God wants to demonstrate His love to you also through this practical means.' So it opens up incredible opportunities to talk about the love of God."
As people turn to Christ, GAiN ministry partners are there to do discipleship work.
Zook says this is a pivotal time for the Horn of Africa and the Church globally. "Unless the church stands up, unless we as believers stand up and help provide, many people unfortunately will not only go hungry but will die without know that God loves them and wants to have a personal relationship with them."
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