May 28, 2017

WCC urges G7 to end famine

By Sam Eyoboka with Agency reports

AS Christians across the globe last Sunday prayed, tweeted, posted and talked face-to-face about the urgent action needed to aid 20 million people facing famine in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria on the declared Global Day of Prayer to End Famine, the World Council of Churches, WCC, called on the Group of Seven, G7 leaders to end famine and save about 1.4 million children.

The 2-day 43rd G7 summit ended yesterday in Taormina (ME), Sicily, Italy. It discussed, among other issues, global food security. The number of people globally in need of food assistance in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria has risen by 35 per cent in the last 12 months, from 80 to 108 million people.

Among them are 1.4 million child-ren, who are at risk of death unless aid reaches them immediately.

A statement issued by the WCC and made available to Sunday Worship said: “In this day and age, famine cannot be tolerated, not just because every human being is valued in God’s sight and has the right to eat but also be-cause starvation singles out the weakest and most vulnerable from among us.

“It is the moral duty of wealthy nations to do all they can to pro-vide life-saving funding and assistance and to work to end the underlying conditions that drive starvation: conflict, poor gover-nance and climate change,” the statement added.

More than one billion Christians took part in the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine. “We as signatories helped lead that global event because we believe that this crisis demands our prayers and that governments, society and people of faith must act.

“The current crisis is happening against a backdrop of worsening hunger. This appalling statistic flies in the face of global commit-ments to end poverty and hunger by 2030 and suggests that while things are improving for the vast majority of the world, things are worsening for the already worst off,” it said.

WCC averred that humanitarian organizations as well as the Council’s church members on the ground are warning of catastro-phe, saying: “In East Africa hund-reds of thousands of people are now on the move, fleeing starvat-ion and conflict or displaced across borders into hardscrabble settlements. Uganda now hosts the world’s largest refugee camp —Bidi Bidi, with more than 270,000 people. Thousands more South Sudanese daily arrive in Uganda, among them hundreds of unaccompanied children whose parents have been lost or killed. Food aid is desperately short.”

According to the statement, cholera, diarrhea and other diseases are also killing children, their weakened bodies unable to cope with what otherwise is treatable. “They and their families are dying silently in remote villages, on the march to find help, or trapped in conflict kill zones, where they are subject to bombings, kidnapping, rape and violence. Children are paying a particularly heavy price.

“The last time that the world heard of famine was in 2011, when 260,000 Somalis died—half of them children. The situation is worse now. The UN says it has not seen a humanitarian crisis of this scale since 1945,” it said.