MARALAL, Kenya — While most Americans have never been desperate enough to scrounge for fallen kernels of corn in the dusty ground, famine is a harsh daily reality for millions of people in Kenya. Southern Baptists, through their World Hunger Fund, are providing food relief for thousands of Kenyans on the brink of starvation.
In January 2009, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declared the food shortage a national disaster.
“Our national assessment is that 10 million people are food insecure and require emergency support,” Kibaki said. “These people will not be able to meet their minimum food requirements between now and the end of August 2009 without emergency methods.”
The food crisis was caused in part by severe drought as well as the global energy crisis and last year’s post-election violence, which disrupted planting in the country’s breadbasket region, Kibaki said.
Charles Daniels, a field partner of Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization, said conditions in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province are almost unimaginable to Americans.
“In the Samburu district, we have not seen a drop of rain for months. If drought persists, conditions will worsen,” Daniels said. “As grasslands dry up, there is no pasture for livestock. Cows no longer provide milk, which is vital as a source of food and also money to buy other food staples. The water holes where women walk daily have become little more than cracked and dried depressions of dirt.”
With an allocation of $25,000 from the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund, desperately needed food staples have been distributed to 4,800 people in Samburu district. Each person received 13 pounds of corn meal, 6.6 pounds of red beans and .73 pounds of cooking fat.
Those supplies will be enough to sustain the people for a full month, Daniels said. Because Southern Baptists cared enough to give to their World Hunger Fund, people in need have been greatly helped.
“Many Samburu are having a difficult time these days; some more than others,” Daniels said. “While some are still able to walk and wait and survive on a little, others are in real danger. These are the ones we sought out.”
Daniels asked believers to pray for the people of Kenya as they face continued famine and drought — and for the team of Baptist Global Response field partners and national partners who are working hard to give Kenyans an opportunity to experience a full and meaningful life.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Taylor is a collegiate correspondent of Baptist Global Response.)