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Escaping the jaws of starvation in Africa's Horn region

World Vision has issued its highest level of emergency response to the growing hunger problem across the region.

August 2008



World Vision's health center admits children who are severely malnourished, where they receive medical treatment and monitored feeding. Africa's Horn region is experiencing severe drought and food shortages, leaving children at risk of starvation.
World Vision's health center admits children who are severely malnourished, where they receive medical treatment and monitored feeding. Africa's Horn region is experiencing severe drought and food shortages, leaving children at risk of starvation. Photo ©2008 Geoffrey Denye Kalebbo/World Vision
As our team approaches the World Vision health center in the northeastern region of Africa, babies' cries fill the air.

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…"

A desperate region

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.

"If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday." —Isaiah 58:10


Help provide food and care for desperately hungry children and families in Africa's Horn region.

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.

Tears of joy

Children and families line up outside World Vision's health center to receive treatment for hunger and malnourishment.
Children and families line up outside World Vision's health center to receive treatment for hunger and malnourishment. Photo ©2008 Geoffrey Denye Kalebbo/World Vision

"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."

Delivered from death


On the eighth day of her admission, baby Konjit was discharged from the center. She is going home.

World Vision's regional staff members in Africa are closely monitoring the dire situation across the Horn, including the status of Sudan, Burundi, and other countries where food prices continue to rise and drought is evident.

Learn more


>> Read more about the worldwide food crisis and how food aid serves as an effective intervention.
>> Check out another article featuring stories of children and families around the world who have been affected by rising food prices.

Four ways you can help

>> 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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