How is this famine different from others in the past, and what can be done to save a life?
Countries in Africa are experiencing a deadly drought. But wait, before you skim your eyes to the next page, ask yourself this, how do people suffer differently in America than in African countries?
Of course we’re not surprised. Africa’s been known for its famine, poverty, malnutrition, dis ease and corruption, but why is this normal? Why are our brains wired into thinking of this catastrophe as such a typical occurrence for third world countries?
This drought in African countries isn’t new news for us, nor is it remotely surprising, since this severe drought has been occurring since 2011. The important issue that impacts the drought is that it has been the worst drought in these African countries since the 1940s.
More specifically, countries such as Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Sudan and even South Africa are to the point where a dry season causes a domino effect that leads to corruption. Because a weak sea son of farming leads to a food shortage, this encourages price gouging from farmers and even those of the black market. As people become desperate for their food supply, businesses become greedy to increase their profits.
More than ten million people are affected by this drought whether it’s from malnutrition, refugee camps, long traveling or death. It’s common for families to travel for days in search of the nearest source of water.
Not only are the locals suffering, but sources of food and nourishment are also diminishing as well. Farming is a dead end since most of the ground in African countries remains too dry to grow any crops or fodder for their livestock.
In addition, livestock such as cattle and sheep experience a 60 percent mortality rate as carcasses currently litter the landscape. The brittle hectares of land has left farmers at a major loss to the point where selling their own livestock is the only option.
With such an extreme short age in producing crops, countries may soon be forced to import their significant produce such as corn. This is also a similar domino effect forcing food prices to spike up. The well being of local residents breaks apart as the drought only leads to a limited amount for those who could afford food, leaving the poorest of the poor to suffer.
In Somalia, where over a hundred people have died in a single region from hunger with in 48 hours, the drought has had a major impact to its residents. BBC stated that about three mil lion currently face a food insecurity and up to 260,000 people died from 2010 to 2012 due to the famine. More than 15,000 Somalis leave the country every month to seek refuge in nearby countries of Kenya and Ethiopia.
However, refugee camps aren’t necessarily a safer option since these camps aren’t kept up in healthy conditions. Not to mention, the conditions of the refugees as they arrive are usu ally poor. People risk their lives from malnutrition during the journey or soon after they arrive. They travel for long periods, through many miles and into dangerous environmental conditions in search for the nearest aid camps. With high numbers of refugees crowding in such safe havens, only so little food and support can be provided for everyone.
The United Nations has identified that Somalia is currently at risk of extreme hunger and famine along with four other countries being Nigeria, Sudan and Yemen.
The United Nations uses three criteria to declare whether countries are in a technical famine. Such circumstances involve having 20 percent of households that cannot cope with food shortages, a rate of acute malnutrition exceeding 30 percent and the death toll that exceeds two people per day per 10,000 population.
Just because countries are stuck in a famine, they aren’t necessarily hopeless. While restoration is a slow and steady process for countries to be healthy again, a tiny step is better than doing nothing at all. Research, awareness, donating and even mission projects can easily save a life. Taking action can do as much as saving one life, and that one life for that person cannot be replaced.
Charitable organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse, Iris Global, Living Water and The Water Project are excellent places to begin, even for researching more about this drought. These organizations and several more focus on raising funds for water reservoir projects and provide access to sanitary wells.
Other organizations also aim to provide resources of rehabilitation for health, education, ministry and family community.
Another goal organizations focus toward is to provide education on sustaining the reservoir projects. This involves providing proper training for the locals so they may fix and preserve the wells or tanks. A common issue with water reservoir projects is that volunteers can easily provide the water supply, but they move on to the next project. Volunteers leave the locals in charge of operating the water reservoirs. However, most times, the locals do not know how to properly maintain or repair these wells or tanks. Overall, becoming involved in a similar organization is an effective approach to bring change for someone’s life.
While charities are taking action providing clean water for impoverished countries, the next step anyone can make is to turn to their faith with bold prayer. This isn’t only a boost of hope, but people can also raise awareness about the drought locally. Not everyone can donate to charities, such as college students, but as this news spreads to a wider audience, someone will influence someone else to become involved.
For now, the world cannot be perfect. We’re aware that others are suffering through poverty filled pain. But what’s concern ing is where the media leads an audience’s attention. We know much more about celebrities’ daily lives than we do about a country’s well being. We care more about the two thousand dollar computer in front of our eyes than we do about easy access to clean water. In America, a drought is an inconvenience that will pass by in a couple months, but in Africa, a drought is at the stake of someone’s life. See the difference.