In a Years-Long Drought, Ceaseless Prayer Is Critical for East Africa

(Photo courtesy of Open Doors USA via Facebook)

Humanitarian needs from food shortages have tripled in several regions of East Africa since 2015. The United Nations agricultural agency announced this finding in a report last week, along with a warning that this ongoing drought is going to cause food prices in the area to spike very soon.

The affected countries include Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania. For example, Somalia’s maize and sorghum crop harvests are already down by at least 75 percent of their average.

Kristin Wright, Advocacy Director with Open Doors USA visited Ethiopia last year and witnessed the drought’s devastation.

“When we were in the north of the country, we could definitely see firsthand some of the tragedies caused by the famine. You look and it’s completely parched ground, there haven’t been adequate rains, and people are suffering. In fact…in some of the countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya alone, more than 11 million people are in need of food. So it’s a massive, far-reaching tragedy.”

Of the countries suffering from drought conditions, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya rank on Open Doors’ World Watch List for persecution of Christians. And in these types of crises, Christians and religious minorities can often fare the worst.

“One of [Open Doors’] major initiatives in actually many of these countries, including Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya, is to assist Christians with their livelihoods. As a result of persecution, many Christians will lose their jobs or they’re unable to find employment and consequently unable to support their families. As you can imagine, in a drought situation like this, in a situation of famine where hunger is spreading, this is an even more severe situation for those who don’t have employment or aren’t able to support their families already.”

Wright explains, “Open Doors works on the ground to provide job training skills, and also we do microloan projects where we help Christians start their own business in their areas so they’re able to stay and be sort of a light in the darkness wherever they’re at.”

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SOURCE: Mission Network News
Lyndsey Koh