Several relief agencies estimate that upwards of 20 million people in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and neighboring countries are currently threatened with starvation and diseases like cholera and measles. It is estimated that, without intervention, 1.4 million children might die from severe malnutrition. And, one survey suggests that 85% of Americans are unaware or only dimly aware of this crisis.
A multi-year drought is a major cause. Millions of people in that region are subsistence farmers, that is, they and their families live off the food they grow. When it doesn’t rain, there are no crops--and no food for their families.
Lack of water for the people and their animals often creates the necessity to live nomadically--meaning they can’t even attempt to plant crops. Malnourishment increases and disease spreads easily among the weakened population. And, there is no governmental “safety net” to help out.
The region also suffers from political instability. South Sudan, for instance, became an independent country in 2011 and already has experienced several attempts to overthrow the government. Weak governance opens the door to rebel movements and political terrorism. Village raids to steal children and cattle are common. Ethnic and tribal hatred are common. Distribution of available aid is often hindered by the harsh land, the inefficiency of the local government, and transport through rebel territory. The net effect is that villagers at the bottom of the economic ladder get no support and spiral downward.
The solution to these vexing problems ultimately needs to come from God--working through the hearts of people. At GBC we are connected to South Sudan through Anuol Deng and the Walk On Foundation. Please be with the missions committee as we pray for God’s leading--that we might be effective stewards of the resources He has given us.