Afamine of epic proportions is once again threatening Africa, this time sweeping across the continent’s southern region. As many as 3.5 million people in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Namibia, and South Africa face the effects of severe drought, which has caused crop failures of 60 to 100 percent in many areas. Christian relief agencies and missions are struggling to maintain long-term development and evangelism work in the face of the growing emergency.

“If these people don’t get food in short order, a massive death toll will result,” says World Relief’s Africa director, Dick Anderson. Mozambique’s needs are so great, Anderson says, that he is spending the summer there, coordinating the largest relief project in his organization’s history. The $16 million effort, which involves a consortium of evangelical agencies and the United Nations, will provide food and water to more than 150,000 people in Mozambique’s southern Gaza province.

Dry Wells

Anderson says a May survey of the area revealed that many farmers had already exhausted all their food supplies, and morale was sinking. Makeshift wells are now dry, and children are beginning to die from malnutrition. Relief efforts are focusing on people living along a 350-mile stretch of the Limpopo River. “Not only will we need to truck in food, we also will have to bring water to these people,” he notes. “Until our well-drilling equipment arrives, that means hiring more trucks to transport water—if we can hire enough drivers willing to take the risk.”

The danger comes from the protracted civil war in Mozambique. Convoys of food often need army protection as they move through bandit-infested areas. World Vision has been successful in airlifting 250 metric tons of food to ...

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