From a news report yesterday:
The African continent is no stranger to humanitarian disasters. Climatic changes, war, financial hardship and infrastructural chaos seem to regularly take turns in plunging one region or another into desperation. The latest crisis is centered on East Africa, where countries such as Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are currently experiencing a 'perfect storm' of suffering.
These countries and others in the Horn of Africa are facing a combination of below-average rainfall, the prospect of serious crop failures, increased instability through regional and civil wars, and the overburdening of less severely hit areas through the displacement of populations.
A report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also warns that an already serious food insecurity situation in the region could worsen. The FAO report ominously predicts that if El Nino, the oscillation in ocean temperature which usually brings heavy rains towards the end of the year, delivers as expected, floods and mudslides could add to the misery by wiping out existing food stocks, killing livestock, damaging infrastructure and making thousands homeless.
This is sobering news for running a school as food prices double, for managing nutrition programs as patient loads multiply, for living in a jungle on a mud road as floods threaten. We are warned by the FAO to plan ahead. If the World Foot Program and the United Nations can't manage to get enough food or stop the conflicts, I'm not sure how we're supposed to solve these problems locally. I suppose bearing witness to what we see, giving what we have, and praying.