East African drought appeal

 

East African drought appeal

Author: 

Barnabas Fund

"We are appealing for food aid to help us against this ravaging drought," cried Canon Christopher Chochoi from East Pokot, Kenya, which is enduring its worst drought for five decades. There has been no rain since June 2016. "Cattle, donkeys and camels have died before our own eyes," continued Canon Chochoi. "Humans are faced with starvation … have now resorted to boiling and eating wild fruit. They boil the fruits for several hours to remove poison before eating them … I doubt we will survive in the next few months."As drought and famine grip East Africa, stricken Christians cry for help

From the nearby Diocese of Marsabit, Rev. Jeremiah Omar reports that 70% of the livestock are already dead from drought – a disaster for the many nomadic communities in the area.

The whole of northern Kenya and parts of its coastal region are suffering from drought.

An added problem is that many of the worst affected areas – in the north and the coastal region – are the places where Christians are a despised, marginalised and oppressed minority amongst a Muslim majority.

Parts of neighbouring Uganda are also affected. Two consecutive crops have failed due to abnormally heavy and destructive rains which were followed by drought, due to the El-Niño climatic effect. Deaths from malnutrition are expected to start this month. There will be no relief until June at the earliest, and then only if the rains have come at the right time.

Uganda has absorbed over half a million refugees from South Sudan since last July. Mostly women and children, they are fleeing the conflict there and include many widows and women who do not know what has happened to their husbands. "Many people have very little apart from their clothes they are wearing … people were robbed by armed gangs as they were travelling and lost all their possessions," said Rev. Canon Nason Baluku, Coordinator of Planning, Development and Rehabilitation for the Province of the Church of Uganda, which is seeking to assist the refugees.

Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, and Rt Rev. Bishop Qampicha Daniel Wario, Bishop of Marsabit, Kenya, have appealed to Barnabas Fund for help to provide food aid to save the lives of the most vulnerable Christians in the worst affected areas. Just £30 a month will feed one family in Kenya with maize, beans, cooking oil, powdered milk and salt. That is only a pound a day.

Costs are even lower in Uganda, where food is cheaper. The Church of Uganda has asked us to feed 70,000 people for the next three months. The cost is £4 per person per month – just a pound a week.

And remember them in your prayers. As Lent approaches, and we turn our minds to fasting and prayer, can you set aside a gift to help the starving Christians of Kenya and Uganda? Can your home-group or church give an offering?

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