Hundreds of anxious adults are huddled on the center's verandas, embracing their tearful, emaciated children. "I came to the clinic crying…diarrhea and vomiting was killing my Konjit," says one of the adults, Bekelech, holding the tiny infant.
She explains why the 1-year-old had been admitted to the clinic seven days previously, weighing less than half the normal weight of a child her age. "I had planted some maize, but the crop was burned by the sun. I do not have any food at home…"
Bekelech's and Konjit's desperate circumstances are shared by millions of children and families across the Horn of Africa — the northeastern region of the continent, including the countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda — who are suffering the effects of severe drought and hunger.World Vision operates in each of these countries and has declared its highest level of emergency response to meet the burgeoning needs.
Although the drought is largely due to several consecutive lackluster rainy seasons, the current situation is intensified by a number of other factors, including the worldwide upsurge of fuel and food prices.
In Kenya, for example, inflation rates have reached 30 percent. In Somalia, our staff members report the already enormous needs have intensified because of rapidly diminishing humanitarian access.
The increasing inaccessibility of food has compounded an already fragile situation, eroding the livelihoods and survival strategies of an estimated 9.2 million people across the Horn.
"I am happy that at this hospital Konjit has been getting some good porridge," Bekelech continues. "They have treated her well, and she is now better. I came crying, but now I am very happy because I have seen the improvement."
Genet Demissie, a World Vision nurse at the project, confirms Bekelech's sentiment. "We are excited about Konjit's improvement…These are delicate lives, and they require a lot of attention. We are grateful to God for each life saved."
>> Pray that the Lord will bless the Horn of Africa with rain at the proper time so that farmers will be able to grow enough crops to feed their families and sell the rest for much-needed income. Also ask that World Vision staff will be strengthened in body, mind, soul, and spirit as they help those who are suffering.
>> Donate now to provide food and care for desperately hungry children and families in the Horn of Africa.
>> Give monthly to help provide food and agricultural assistance to children suffering from hunger. For just $20 per month, you can help save the lives of children like Konjit.
>> Act now. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to support increased funding for food aid programs to help end child hunger worldwide.
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