WorldShare received the following vivid description of the situation from ministry contacts in Kenya...
"How do we respond to the dire famine devastating the Horn of Africa region?
"Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are - as has been rightly said - experiencing the greatest drought in 60 years. Consequently, precious life of plants, animals and soon humans will be lost. Will these be the new death fields of hunger?
"With only a week of rainfall during the long rain season in north-eastern Kenya... a leader narrated that 'pastoralists moved their herds to Somalia in search of pasture and water, as often done in such droughts, (but) found worse conditions there. Similarly, those who went to Ethiopia were just as disappointed.'
"Besides the pastoralists, all people living in the region are hit hard and would find it hard to survive. Where foodstuffs can be found in stores, the prices are punitive; many have no job opportunities as well.
"We have worked in this region for over 20 years and now, facing disaster of this magnitude, I cannot but hear the voice of Jesus who commanded the twelve when confronted with the hungry 5000 people, '...give them something to eat.' (Mark 6:37).
"Visiting our famous cattle market, it is reported that cattle are selling for Ksh 4,000 (Kenyan shillings - around £30)... a goat going for Ksh 100 in other areas... and that would be better than losing them in death. This is literally wiping out the wealth and livelihood of this community for years - a region truly rich in livestock!
"This time around, the publicity of the famine has touched far and wide, and we hope needs can be met and all people will be helped. The NGOs, and Government through provincial administration (chiefs), are putting up measures to feed the people in the region, and the refugees not only fleeing war in Somalia but this calamity.
"But minorities in the region may fall between the cracks of victimisation or neglect, and should be addressed. The Christian minority population has in the past been neglected or ignored in this majority Muslim context and have had untold suffering in times of trouble.
"The focus on children needs to be highlighted as this is another blind spot. The vulnerable members of society are often squeezed out of help.
"A man who is in his early 50's and blind in both eyes depends on one of his sons to get him around. He has seven children from the two wives he married who left him. All their cattle are gone. With a house in disrepair with no toilet, he requested helping in constructing one and repairing his house. 'Where do I get food for my children?' was his most pressing need.
"A Kenyan Christian mission with work in this region is responding to this challenge in providing food support to the community, and focusing on these gaps in...
...minorities. Christians in these areas often miss out on help
...children. Especially orphans and child-led families
...the disabled. It is so easy for them to be out of sight and forgotten
" 'How much bread do you have?' (Mark 6:38) We are inviting participation in this challenge to 'give them something to eat'. It will cost $35 (about £22) to support a family for a month. To support a child feeding scheme will cost $10 (just over £6) a month. To do bore holes costs about $1,800 (about £1,100).
"Please pray for the people who need urgent help - many of them are trying to survive in unimaginable conditions. Pray for the spiritual needs of those affected - their souls are precious to God. Pray for the hearts of every able person or organisation to be touched and respond. Pray for people who can come aboard and give assistance to coordinate the relief effort.
"Here is a unique opportunity to show the love of Christ in a practical way."