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Famine Claims the Lives of Thousands



  • August 09, 2011
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Vernon Brewer

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Today, my heart is heavy. Reports from the field and from our Director of Humanitarian Aid have confirmed my greatest fears about the famine in the Horn of Africa. Twelve million Somalis, Kenyans, and Ethiopians are starving due to the worst drought since the 1950s.

More than 29,000 children, under the age of five, have perished in the last 90 days in southern Somalia alone.

The U.N. reports that 640,000 Somali children are acutely malnourished, with little or no relief in sight. Even the most modest of estimates say that thousands will die in the coming months if conditions remain the same.

The dusty roads to refugee camps are being called “roads of death” because of the hundreds that are unable to continue and must be left to die along the way. Mothers are being forced to abandon their weak or sick children in order to save the remaining others. To us, who rarely let our children go without a meal, this is unthinkable. Can you imagine the anguish of these parents?

As Americans, we are used to seeing television images of distressed children in need of help. It’s easy to become hardened because of the sheer magnitude of these realities. Even so, we must guard our hearts from accepting this dismal fate for the Somali people, those we are commanded to love and cherish as our neighbors and friends.

David Platt’s words of caution came to mind as I thought of the ease at which we can become blind to even the greatest of injustices:

Good intentions, regular worship, and even study of the Bible do not prevent blindness in us. Part of our sinful nature instinctively chooses to see what we want to see and to ignore what we want to ignore. 

We must choose to wage battle on our collective tendency to be paralyzed by indifference, ignorance, and even the best of intentions.

Will you join me in committing to pray for the Somali people and to raise awareness of their needs? I’m also asking you to give toward the cost of shipping containers of humanitarian aid to a neighboring area in Kenya, where thousands of refugees are seeking sanctuary.

Each 40-foot container costs approximately $6,000 to ship and contains 40,000 pounds of wheat, corn, nutrition-packed soup mix, and much more that can supply 240,000 life-saving meals. Think of the impact:

$1 = 40 meals                                     $500 = 20,000 meals
$25 = 1,000 meals                             $1,000 = 40,000 meals
$50 = 2,000 meals                             $3,000 = 120,000 meals
$250 = 10,000 meals                        $6,000 = 240,000 meals

I pray I never see the day when my grandchildren ask me why we did not respond to the atrocities in Somalia. We must be bold and stand up for those without a voice.

Today, we can make a difference in the face of one of the most devastating humanitarian disasters of our time. Call toll free 800-541-6691 to place a gift on your credit card, or click here to give online. You can also donate $10 by texting WORLDHELP to 85944. Please . . . whatever you can do, please do it today.

For other blog posts on the continuing crisis in Somalia, read Crisis in the Horn of Africa and Hungry, Thirsty, and Desperate.  

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