While the news hardly pays attention to Ethiopia, millions of children continue to be malnourished in the East African country. Recurrent droughts, high food prices, poverty and lack of agricultural investment are some of the reasons for persistent hunger, stunting, even starvation among Ethiopian children.
For their aid program, ASC seeks out villages that are so remote that sometimes officials aren’t even aware of their existence. In some of these out-of-the-way rural areas, hunger is so bad that our team is greeted by desperate mothers of horrifically malnourished children, children who are often too weak to cry, laugh, walk or play. And sometimes they even encounter the stench of death on arrival.
After a decades-long civil war, South Sudan split off from Sudan and became an independent country in July 2011. However, violent conflicts have continued in both Sudans and especially along the border between the two countries. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced. They have lost their homes, their belongings, their livelihoods and many of them have lost family members.
Children have been injured and traumatized; so many have only known war, instability and deprivation in their young lives. Humanitarian access is very difficult because of the on-going fighting. As a result, thousands of refugees are left to fend for themselves, children are malnourished, exposed to malaria and other diseases and left without medical care.
When we heard the news, it was heartbreaking:
- Severe flooding in Malawi has killed over 176 people.
- 300,000 people have been displaced and millions affected.
- The Malawi government has declared half the country a disaster zone.
- From Malawi VP, Saulos Chilima: "I flew over some parts of the Lower Shire but we could not find anywhere to land. It's a big challenge we have before us."
- From Amaury Gregoire, Malawi mission head of Doctors Without Borders: "The floods are behaving like a slow tsunami with the river swelling progressively downstream toward the south."
Part of the mission of Aid for Starving Children has always been to go to those areas of the world where children and families are suffering under the most horrific conditions, providing them with the aid they need most.
Somalia is a land sadly plagued by truly "horrific conditions." There is the constant war being waged by groups faction that indiscriminately murder men, women, and children, scattering and splintering families running for their lives. These terrified people end up in small groupings of people seeking to somehow survive. Then there is the constant drought that leaves them unable to find drinking water or to grow even the most meager of crops.
Add to this the very real threat of kidnapping or murdering anyone who appears as if they are from the West, and you can understand why so many charities and NGOs are choosing to not enter this region of the world