Horn of Africa famine effects getting worse, says GAiN

By February 27, 2012

East Africa (MNN) — A few weeks ago, the United Nations declared Somalia's famine over, formally reducing the crisis to a "humanitarian emergency."

To many, the mere idea that the U.N. has declared the famine over is a good thing. But since the declaration, others have cried out for eyes to remain on East Africa. The crisis in Africa's Horn, they say, is far from over.

"If anything, it's getting worse," agrees Jessica Dooley with Global Aid Network (GAiN, USA). "The famine is still going on. There's a lot of war. There are a lot of groups that are still fleeing into refugee camps from their cities in the country. So it's continuing to grow and still be a problem."

The famine erupted over the summer of 2012 as drought threatened food sources. Millions were forced to flee their homes in search of food and water. Many fingers have been pointed to explain the thousands of deaths that occurred as a result. But why don't things seem to have gotten better?

Dooley shares some insight. "It can be a lot of times political. If you have a famine but you don't have a stable government or one that's in place that can help provide for their country, then the problem's just going to get worse."

Furthermore, Dooley adds, the problem is far bigger than short-term solutions can handle.

"It's more than just, ‘Hey, we need food. We need water.' They need education, they need development, and they need a country that can support them," says Dooley.

She points out that one problem in particular is that although there are families in refugee camps, all they are getting is meals. The kids are not going to school, and the parents are not working. This creates a number of long-term problems.

The crisis is widespread, and many say it's spreading to West Africa. So what can be done to tackle such a monster?

Dooley says the major answer is to pray. Aid must continue to be sent, and attention must not drop from the needy area.

It's important to note also, says Dooley, that there is progress being made. GAiN has sent $5 million worth of meals to families in need, and two more containers are being shipped to alleviate hunger.

GAiN continues to work with partners on the ground, allowing many Gospel opportunities. Dooley says many people ask why GAiN is doing what they are doing, to which they can respond with the Gospel message.

Good things are happening, but there's much more work to be done. To help GAiN in this pursuit, click here.

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