Churches can join in a global wave of prayer this Sunday 21 May to help end the famine affecting millions of people across several conflict-ridden African nations.
The World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches initiated the global effort in response to the growing hunger crisis.
“Many people are going without a meal in a day.” reports Wadalla Peter from Christian World Service-supported Maridi Service Agency in South Sudan last week.
“Government employees have not been paid for four months. People survive the hard way. They struggle to find a little to feed their families.”
Over the last months food prices in South Sudan have risen 800%. MSA can only provide two meals a week at its two nursery schools – as a 50kg bag of maize meal now costs NZ$107.
In February, the UN declared famine in two states of South Sudan, and 20 million people are living on the edge of starvation in north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen.
Communities in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are also malnourished.
The United Nations predicts 5.5 million South Sudanese - 47% of the population will be without food by July.
Already 1.8 million have fled to neighbouring countries – one million of whom are children. But at the same time, the UN has cut food rations in Uganda which is now hosting 898K South Sudanese refugees.
“The combination of conflict, prolonged drought and poverty is taking a terrible toll,” says CWS National Director Pauline McKay.
“People are living on a knife-edge. Without greatly increased financial support and protection, the outlook for many is very bleak.”
Famine is a technical term – which describes a situation where 30% of a population is severely malnourished and at least two people out of every 10,000 die from hunger every day.
Donations to the CWS South Sudan Famine Appeal will fund emergency supplies for displaced mothers and start-up funds for their small businesses, as well as (Action of Churches Together) food relief in South Sudan’s Unity and Bahr el Ghazal states.
Churches can observe the Day of Prayer to end Famine this Sunday 21 May, or during next week, with an order of service, prayers, suggested hymns, a Powerpoint presentation all available from Pray to End Famine.org. CWS has prepared a bulletin insert for churches in Aotearoa to direct funds to its South Sudan Appeal and there is a short video available.
This day is a great opportunity to focus on the famine crisis and collect an offering for the CWS South Sudan Famine Appeal. Funds raised in this Appeal will provide emergency food, commodity vouchers and tools for agriculture as well as livelihood support to displaced people.
Your support for this appeal will help save lives. Please give generously.
Donations to can be made:
• On line to the CWS South Sudan Famine Appeal and by direct deposit
• By phone with a credit card: 0800 74 73 72
• By post to: CWS, PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140
CWS is a member of ACT Alliance a global coalition of a 140 churches and church-related organisations working together on humanitarian development and advocacy in over 100 countries.