Church responds as millions face starvation in Africa


undefinedThe Anglican mission agency USPG has launched an emergency appeal to support Anglican churches in southern Africa as they reach out to communities facing famine and loss of life. Erratic weather, drought and crop failures have resulted in chronic food shortages in Madagascar, Malawi and Zimbabwe, with hundreds of lives lost due to malnutrition.

In Madagascar, The Rt Revd Dr Todd McGregor, Bishop of Toliara, reported that a confirmation service a young person collapsed in his arms due to dehydration.

And the Diocese of Toliara’s development co-ordinator Gasthé Alphonse told USPG: ‘People are weak and listless and sleeping every day without eating. Children have started to drop out of school through weakness or because they’ve got to walk further to collect water.

‘People have been selling their animals to buy food they would normally grow themselves. Once they’ve sold their livestock, they have no other resources to buy food.

‘Even those with little resources are struggling to feed their families as food and water prices are too high. People are eating cactus like animals to survive.’

In Malawi – where an estimated 8.6 million people will be facing starvation from December – USPG funding will support an Anglican programme to provide food aid to vulnerable households and train communities in disaster preparedness.

In Zimbabwe, hunger is driving some people to eat the seeds they have rather than planting them, which will lead to further food shortages. Here, USPG is supporting a schools feeding programme that will reach 7,600 children aged 3 to 7.

The situation is critical. An immediate response is required to save lives. In each country, Anglicans are well placed to support vulnerable people because their church networks reach the rural communities that are most affected.

Donations to USPG’s Rapid Response Famine Fund can be made at: