It's World Food Day and Children Are Starving

from Food for the Hungry
Published on 16 Oct 2017 View Original

World Food Day is supposed to celebrate progress toward ending hunger around the globe.

But this World Food Day, 815 million people are hungry.

Since 2014, the number of hungry people has grown by the millions. Much of this hunger is due to conflict and famines caused by conflict. And in countries impacted by violence, war, famine and drought, we can’t continue “business as usual.” Hunger is at a crisis level in northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Hunger there is extreme. In Kenya, drought means that crops are failing and livestock are producing little milk. Around 370,000 Kenyan children aren’t getting enough to eat. And UNICEF warns that places like these are in dire need of emergency assistance. Food for the Hungry’s (FH) presence in East Africa and commitment to going to the hardest places allows us to engage with families affected by the hunger crisis.

Hunger Hurts Families

Aguek Makwe is a dad who fled the violence in South Sudan with his four children and a pregnant wife. Food is so scarce that their family survives by begging from other refugees. They only eat if another family is able to spare some of their own scarce supply of food.

Athieng Ajang’s family sought safety in northern Uganda, and she has had no contact with her husband in South Sudan ever since. He has no way of knowing where his wife and children are or if they are alive. Meanwhile, she worries over how to feed her hungry children since they do not yet have land on which to grow vegetables and other food.

Imagine how scared and powerlessness these desperate families must feel. It’s in these hard times and places that FH and our partner organizations come alongside families to teach skills and offer life-saving resources. In the case of Beatrice, a mom whose husband was killed in South Sudan, FH provides the hope that she will soon have a reliable, sustainable source of food through a field she is learning to plant and harvest. Beatrice says that she knows God will provide for her family because “he already has with the beginning of this project.”

Hunger by the Numbers

20 million people are on the edge of starvation right now.

  • More than half the population of South Sudan know life-threatening levels of hunger.

  • In Yemen, 17 million people are at risk of starvation.

  • Somalia’s rate of malnutrition has reached the emergency threshold and hundreds of thousands of children are in critical need of life-saving treatment.

Children who do survive long periods of severe malnutrition experience stunting and brain damage that affect their physical and mental well-being for the rest of their lives. Whether children have the chance to live and grow is based on how we act now.

David Beasley, the director of the World Food Programme, recently said, “With 20 million people on the brink of starvation and 5.7 million children dangerously malnourished in Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen, and northeastern Nigeria, it’s more important than ever for the international community to take action to prevent people from dying.”

Here’s What We Can Do Now

Like Beatrice, we can have hope in the midst of tragedy. If we act now, we can save lives and help people who are experiencing extreme hunger! FH works in the hardest places to bring life-saving resources to those who are most desperate.

Will you help our brothers and sisters suffering in places such as northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen? This World Food Day, we want a world without hunger. And we get there by each helping one person at a time! Here’s what you can do now.