Tag Archives: drought

Securing the future of Turkana

Having witnessed ghastly scenes of malnourished and hungry children and mothers in Turkana, Kenya, in 2011, I returned a year later and witnessed a total transformation.

World Vision is busy working on recovery and resilience-building programs that are rapidly changing the picture of this region of East Africa.

Smiles, laughter in the midst of crisis

World Vision's Mariana Chokaa reports from Niger, a country left reeling from the drought and hunger crisis that has devastated Africa's Sahel region. At a local clinic, where one might expect to encounter the desperation of malnourished children, she instead observes a downright cheerful atmosphere.

What explains this? World Vision's early interventions amid increasingly dire conditions have helped save lives.

How much is a life worth?

In the news business, there's a saying that goes, “One dead fireman in Brooklyn is worth five English bobbies, who are worth fifty Arabs, who are worth five hundred Africans.” I quoted this in my first book, The Hole in Our Gospel.

It’s understandable that we identify and sympathize with the people closest to us. We have a harder time empathizing with people who are somehow removed -- whether geographically, culturally, religiously, or nationally. It’s normal.

But it’s not okay.

[Infographic] Drought, food crisis, and famine: What's the difference?

Drought, food crisis, and famine: When the technicality of these terms is stripped away, we simply associate them with people not getting the food and water they need to survive. While this is easy enough to understand as a general concept, the "how," "why," and "what can I do" are a bit more complex.

In order to make these concepts easier to understand, we've broken in them down into an easy-on-the-eyes infographic. Click the image below to get the full scoop!

Mauritania: A story of life or death

Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., recently warned that we must take decisive action now to prevent the hunger crisis in West Africa's Sahel region from devolving into outright famine, similar to what was seen in parts of the Horn of Africa last year.

Today, World Vision's Adel Sarkozi writes from Mauritania, confirming this message: West Africa may not be making headlines in the media, but the humanitarian situation there is dire, and we must act immediately.

Fighting famine is ineffective aid

It’s popular in the press to judge a charity by its efficiency. Donors want to know whether their money is being used effectively, and journalists play a valuable part in keeping organizations accountable.

Without downplaying the important role the media play in this respect, I believe the public’s concerns about effective aid would be better served if the press also paid attention to slow-building disasters early on -- before they begin claiming lives. Inefficient responses to disasters can cost as much as 80 times more than a well-planned early response.

Caring for God's creation on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, an opportunity to step back and appreciate the care and detail God put into creating our universe. God is an amazing artist, and He has set creation before us to show us His glory and remind us of His love.

Psalm 95:3-5 tells us: "For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land."

In Seattle, where I live, this verse comes to life all the time -- natural beauty is evident all around me. Lush green trees, beautiful mountain ranges, numerous lakes, and the Puget Sound remind me of God’s creativity and craftsmanship daily. Spring has brought cherry blossoms and daffodils in abundance. Everywhere I look, I see His awe-inspiring creation.

PHOTOS: Desperate struggles amid hunger crisis in Niger

As is the case throughout much of West Africa's Sahel region, children and families in the village of Tabouche, Niger, are taking extreme measures just to survive. An ongoing drought continues to fuel a hunger crisis that shows no signs of letting up.

The images below provide a glimpse into a part of the world that desperately needs our attention and assistance. (Photos by Chris Sisarich for World Vision.)

Mauritania: Making the Triangle of Poverty a Triangle of Hope

Traveling across West Africa, World Vision communications manager Jonathan Bundu is collecting stories of women and children impacted by the current drought and food crisis. Below are reflections from his time in Mauritania, in a region called the Triangle of Poverty.

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"Without your help, we are hopeless"

Imagine yourself in a dry, hot, dusty landscape, where water sources are scarce, and where parents don't know whether they have enough food for their children for the day -- or where tomorrow's food will even come from. This is a glimpse into the West African country of Mali, where the regional drought and food crisis is intensifying quickly.

Hunger and drought creep across northern Africa

In Africa, there is often a period of time between when a family’s stores from their last harvest runs out and when their new crop is ready to eat. These are known as the "hungry months."

Expensive, store-bought food is purchased and carefully rationed. Those who can’t buy food depend on neighbors, relatives, churches, and food distributions. And if there’s a drought, crops fail, or rains are late, those hungry months can turn into a hungry year.

This is the case for communities in the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Somalia), which is recovering from a historic drought and food crisis, and communities in West Africa (Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, and Senegal), where drought is just settling in.

Why water makes the difference: A tale of two towns

What does clean water mean to you? How often do you think about it? In her fourth blog entry, World Vision's Lauren Fisher compares two communities in Niger -- one that has a safe source of water, and one that does not. Follow Lauren's trip here on our blog or @WorldVisionNews (#wvlauren) for live, on-the-ground reports from the field.

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Lately, you could say water has become a major obsession of mine. In the past, I’ve taken it for granted. It’s the back-up beverage when I can’t find iced tea or soda; it's the bath I can count on at the end of a long day.

But as one colleague told me, in Zinder, water is precious. For me, that means there is no water at all, without warning, at any given time. At any given time, the shower stops working mid-shampoo, along with any other bathroom fixture. It’s made for some comical mornings, as you can well imagine.

Famine in Somalia is officially over, but...

Of course, I’m happy that the United Nations has declared an end to the famine in Somalia. This is encouraging news, considering that six regions of the country were designated as famine zones last July. However, an estimated 2 million people still face serious food shortages in Somalia. Our work in the drought-ravaged Horn of Africa is nowhere near done.

Hunger in West Africa: Putting you in their shoes

You are in a small health clinic in southern Chad. It is 9 a.m. The air is hot, dry, and filled with cries.

You are amidst 40 mothers sitting on the ground or on the clinic’s porch, babies in their laps. Under brightly colored headscarves, their faces look tired, drawn, sad. You catch glimpses of the babies. Their skin is stretched over their chests like paper over wire frames. Their legs are long and thin. Their bellies are protruding. Four of the mothers, clearly malnourished themselves but still trying to breastfeed their babies, are sitting on a wooden bench. In front of them is a row of tall, yellow roses.

You have never seen so much color and sadness in the same place. The contrast is unbearable. But you try to cope.

Then, your name is called out. You look up. But it’s not you who is being called. It is one of the mothers. She struggles to get onto her feet. She walks with her baby into the consultation room. Tears flow down the baby’s face as he is measured, weighed, and the nutrition-monitoring band is wrapped around his arm. You don’t need to wait to hear the results to know that he is severely malnourished.

A different kind of day

I found myself in a hot, dusty camp on the border with Ethiopia, where Somalis who had fled their homes because of violence and the worst drought in 60 years were living. It’s there that I met Habiba.

Habiba is a 47-year-old mother of 10. She and her family used to grow bananas and mangoes and raise animals. But the drought destroyed their crops and killed all of their animals: 100 cattle, 200 goats, and 500 chickens, all gone.