The following message is from the ELCA e-Advocacy list. This lists is sent out by the Advocacy office of the ELCA to inform people of the what political issues are going on and how people can get involved. This particular message is about the situation of drought in East Africa and now West Africa, how actions within the US Congress can impact the situation and how you can get involved.
Before we turn our hearts and minds to Jesus’ path to the cross and joyous resurrection this holy weekend, we can first follow Christ’s teachings by urging Congress to act on behalf of the millions in Africa living in dire insecurity and uncertainty.
Conflict, draught, and resulting food shortages have left tens of millions of people – from Sahel to Sudan to Somalia – in crisis, facing starvation and malnutrition and forced to leave their homes and relocate in refugee camps. These men, women, and children will face even greater hardship if we do not act to protect U.S. funding for the life-saving programs upon which they depend for food, clean water and secure shelter.
In the Horn of Africa
13 million people are currently living in food crisis, still suffering from the effects of last year’s drought which forced millions to leave their homes to take refuge in camps.
Meanwhile, the plight of famine has spread west, putting 15.5 million people in West Africa’s Sahel region at risk, including eight million who need emergency assistance. Over ten million already face food insecurity and an additional one million children are at risk of severe malnutrition. Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger are all experiencing dangerously high malnutrition levels while in Mali alone, conflict and food shortages have displaced 100,000 people. The crisis is only expected to worsen in the coming months.
Between the crises to their east and west, Sudan and South Sudan suffer while combating their own humanitarian crises. An estimated 200,000 people have been displaced or severely affected by violence in South Kordofan, an area vulnerable to Sudan’s Armed Forces’ aerial bombing, ground attacks, sexual violence, denial of humanitarian assistance, and other tactics which some have dubbed ‘weapons of mass starvation.’ An estimated 28,000 Sudanese have been forced to relocate to South Sudan’s Yida refugee camp.
Through its membership in The Lutheran World Federation, the ELCA is participating in relief efforts with Lutheran churches and partners in these emergency crises.
Yet in the midst of these dire and enduring crises, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the House Budget Committee’s fiscal year 2013 Budget Resolution last week, which cuts the International Affairs Budget by 11 percent. The cuts include the eliminating Feed the Future and cutting the U.S. Agency for International Development’s International Disaster Assistance by 40 to 60 percent. Meanwhile, the President’s fiscal year 2013 budget request proposes cuts to essential poverty-focused programs that provide refugees and displaced people with access to food, shelter, and water, including a 13.3% cut ($250
million) to the Migration and Refugee Assistance.
CLICK HERE to tell your senators and representative to maintain funding for the International Affairs Accounts that provide essential food, water, shelter, and support to the millions of refugees around the world who have been forced to make incomprehensible sacrifices.
Want to do more? Call your senators and representatives, who are at home in your district during recess, and tell them to protect the International Affairs account from the deep, disproportionate cuts made in the House of Representatives’ FY13 Budget Resolution.
- ELCA Disaster Response addresses food crisis in West, Central Africa: http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=5206
- Military Leaders’ Letter to Congress in support of Foreign Assistance: http://www.usglc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/NSAC-Letter-2012.pdf
- World Food Program ‘Food Crisis in the Sahel: 6 Must-Reads’ http://www.wfp.org/stories/crisis-sahel-6-must-reads
- Read more about the drought in the Sahel region at http://www.ELCA.org/disaster, and donate to ELCA Disaster Response at https://community.ELCA.org/WestAfricaSahelDrought. Gifts designated for the “West Africa Sahel Drought” will be used entirely (100 percent) for response.