Within the past few months, you’ve heard a lot about the Famine that happened in the Horn of Africa, (East Africa). Today, another food crisis has hit the radar, this time in West Africa. This is the story of the East & the West and what your Famine funds are doing to help.
Why is it happening?
Most people living in West & East Africa live off of crops from their lands and the products of their livestock. Every year, there are a few crucial months that take place between one harvest ending and the new one beginning. This period of time is known as the “hungry months”. This, along with droughts and food shortages, are not uncommon in many parts of Africa. People there have instinctively learned how to survive, sometimes on their own and sometimes with help. Now, combine this with political instability, unequal access and distribution of food, and a lack of rain and a unique crisis can quickly form, putting millions at risk.
East Africa: The Story
Last year, the United Nations (UN) declared an official famine in the Horn of Africa-the first one declared in more than 20 years. Between October-December, rain finally fell, offering the first glimpse of hope. In February, the UN began lifting some of the Famine declarations-signifying that the need was becoming less severe.
But 11.5 million people are still in need of help across the Horn of Africa. Just because rain has fallen, does NOT mean that crops immediately appear. Recovery will take months, and even years in some areas. Even more, there is still the fear that rain will not come again this fall as expected.
West Africa: The Story
Nearly 23 million people spread across countries including Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Senegal are either facing desperate food shortages or are in imminent danger of running out of food.
Droughts are somewhat familiar to this area, happening every 5-10 years. The last drought was only two years ago, which means there was little time for the land and people to recover. Still in survival mode, millions are once again facing a bleak prediction of food in the coming months.
How you’re helping
When you designate your Famine funds to the Horn of Africa, you will provide emergency food, support agriculture by providing seeds and food for livestock, and promote practices to make land more drought-resistant, among other emergency relief.
This year, some Famine funds will also be sent to areas in West Africa to provide nutrition programs for children, food distribution, vaccinations for livestock to prevent disease, distributing seeds, and educating parents on ways to keep their children healthy.
Though we often hear of various food crises around the world, each is affecting real people like you and me, with stories of their own. Just because there is a food crisis in West Africa doesn’t mean we forget about East Africa-it means we get strategic & bold. It means we tell the story of the poor even more. It means that this year, your Famine funds will make an even bigger impact in overcoming hunger around the world.