More than 12 million people are at risk of starvation in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and other parts of East Africa, equivalent to the population of Ohio or Florida. Hundreds of thousands refugees have fled the drought-stricken region, and in the past three months, nearly 30,000 children have died. Yet the crisis has raised little attention in America. Private relief agencies are facing record low donations. The federal government is cutting its budget for humanitarian aid. And few Americans report even paying attention to the disaster.
Even though the need is great, some relief organizations are finding it difficult to raise the funds needed to assist the area. Jeff Palmer, executive director of Baptist Global Response, said the Southern Baptist international relief fund is operating with just enough funds for six months. Contributions from Southern Baptist churches to the fund in 2010 were the lowest in 20 years, with the fund receiving only 40 percent of what it did just a year earlier. ...1