In Kenya, right now, more than 3.5 million people need emergency food assistance. And while the statistic is true, the statement is vast and oversimplified. This great number of people in need breaks down to individuals and families in a myriad of conditions, classifications, terms and definitions.
Some are pastoralists throughout northern Kenya whose cattle are dying from a lack of water and grazing resources. Others are farmers, who have now seen a third rainy season come and go with inadequate rains and scant harvests. And then there are those who don’t have land to cultivate, as insecurity and conflict ensured that they never settled anywhere long enough to sow any seeds or put down stable roots. The reasons and faces of this food crisis are as vast and diverse as the land it covers and the people groups it affects.
The worst affected country, Somalia, has declared in parts to be in full-fledged famine. All the disadvantages of chronic drought and years of war are blocking access to food, causing mass starvation and ultimately, death. Other regions in the Horn of Africa are considered in emergency or crisis status, teetering on the verge of starvation, but in Somalia and the refugee camps, it seems that the devastating outcomes of famine have finally galvanized the world to humanitarian action!
Yet, in the Turkana region of northern Kenya, a vast and remote region declared to be one level away from famine, there is a limited humanitarian aid response and even less international media coverage. It is here that World Relief was asked by a Kenyan church, Parklands Baptist Church, to help them bring vital food assistance to drought-stricken communities. It is here that World Relief sees an underserved crisis unfolding that must be addressed before it becomes a catastrophe. So it is hope, not acute calamity, that now compels us to action.
Others, from all walks of life, are standing with World Relief and the people of Turkana. Farmers in central Kenya are giving from their surplus crops to their neighbors in the north where little rain has fallen. Churches in Kenya are coming together, partnering with World Relief and giving money and food for their brothers and sisters in hunger. Generous donors from the world over are financially giving to secure food for communities in Turkana they have never met. We see great hope in these stories.
World Relief has specifically sent a media team to document these stories of hope that the world has not yet heard about. In Turkana the situation is serious and thousands need immediate food assistance, but hope is resilient. We pray that it will galvanize you, as it does us, to act before starvation demands it.