NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Southern Baptists already are at work
with relief efforts in the Horn of Africa, where drought and famine threaten
the lives of nearly 11 million people.
Recent news reports have sparked heightened interest in the suffering there,
but the crisis has been building for years, said Jeff Palmer, executive
director of the Baptist Global Response (BGR) international relief and
“We are grateful the mass media have begun reporting on the situation and that
more people are becoming concerned,” Palmer said. “Southern Baptists have been
engaged in humanitarian work in that area since the 1970s, and we are
initiating new projects so people who care will have plenty of opportunities to
reach out to people in the Horn of Africa who are in desperate need.”
The United Nations estimates about 770,000 people have fled to refugee camps
and about $1.3 billion will be needed to address the crisis.
The Horn of Africa suffers from long-term cycles of drought and famine, and
Southern Baptists began months ago to address the developing crisis, said Mark
Hatfield, who with his wife Susan directs BGR work in Sub-Saharan Africa and is
helping coordinate response to the crisis.
“East Africa has experienced cycles of hunger due to failed crops, economic
crises and climatic changes for decades, with those cycles becoming closer and
closer together in recent years,” Hatfield said. “Southern Baptists have been
involved in addressing these needs. In 2009, the World Hunger Fund helped
respond to a severe drought among the Masai of southern Kenya. Over $1 million
dollars was allocated to provide supplemental feeding during that cycle of
“Since then, over $190,000 has been allocated for feeding projects focused in
northern Kenya and Southern Sudan,” Hatfield added. “We are assessing the
current situation among the people groups we have relationships with, and we
are working with our BGR partners in the East Africa area to develop ministries
that will reach out to those most vulnerable during this critical time of hunger
Donations designated for the Horn of Africa crisis can be made through the
International Mission Board (IMB) at imb.org.
BGR will post updates on the relief work as more information becomes available.
Updates can be monitored on Twitter (www.twitter.com/gobgr), Facebook
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Kelly is senior writer and an assistant editor for