In recent days, my colleagues have been restless and anxious about doing more to share the story and seek financial support for the “hunger” related emergency in Eastern Africa, particularly in Kenya and Ethiopia where abnormally low rainfall in the last two years has created serious drought and famine that will affect approximately 10,000,000 people. The situation in Kenya is further impacted by a population explosion of people arriving daily into the refugee camps from Somalia and Sudan. (See ELCA news release).
The ELCA Disaster Response has been involved in this region during the last year by providing funding to The Lutheran World Federation to assist in the operations of the Dadaab refugee camp in Eastern Kenya. Ideally this camp supports a community of 90,000, but at the present has had to expand to accept approximately 380,000. Additionally, the ELCA Disaster Response can be so effective in dire times because of the base of relationships that already exist in these countries through the history of ELCA World Hunger funding and program support.
When disasters occur, my colleagues at the ELCA Churchwide Office respond like a machine out of shared compassion and concern. A new fund may be opened to specifically define how gifts will be used. Press releases, congregational bulletin inserts, and gift forms are created to describe the emergency conditions and how the ELCA is involved or affected in the community that is suffering. These messages encourage action through prayers of support and making gifts to provide relief and recovery. Situation reports are then posted on the web site to provide updates on the critical details of the response and related progress in the communities being served.
What can we do to help?
- There is nothing more powerful than prayer. Pray for those who may be hungry and thirsty as a result of the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.
- Make a gift to support the ELCA’s ongoing response to one or more of our related funds such as the Horn of Africa Drought Relief, ELCA International Disaster Response and/or ELCA World Hunger.
- Follow these programs through the situation reports and information posted on the ELCA Disaster Response and ELCA World Hunger web sites.
Thank you for your awareness of and participation in these efforts.
In peace, Sharon Magnuson, ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal