The drought that affects millions of Africans shows no signs of letting up. In at least one country, Ethiopia, some observers say the situation is worse than it has been in 25 years.
Africa’s food production has declined by 20 percent during the last 20 years. The World Bank has identified five countries—Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger, Sudan, and Kenya—that are suffering from food shortages, and 12 other African nations are approaching that point. The United Nations estimates that 150 million Africans are affected by food shortages.
The U.S. Agency for International Development estimates that 6 million of Ethiopia’s 33 million people are threatened by starvation, with as many as 100 dying every day. One day last month, some 100,000 people gathered in the desert sun at a feeding center in northern Ethiopia, responding to rumors of food; but the station was empty.
Millions are suffering in West Africa as well. The drought has caused crops to dry up before harvest time, forcing many to eat leaves and roots. The government of Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) estimates that 1.5 million of its 7 million people are in danger. The government has issued a request for 450,000 metric tons of grain within the next six months.
Relief organizations are intensifying their efforts to assist the hardest-hit countries. World Vision, an evangelical relief and development organization, is part of a consortium of five agencies responsible for distributing 50,000 metric tons in Ethiopia, which has requested a shipment of 600,000 metric tons of grain in the next year. World Vision has leased a plane to help transport grain to remote areas of the country.
World Relief, the relief and development arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, has launched ...1
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