Hunger Relief in Tanzania Continues

( [email protected] ) Apr 28, 2004 06:54 PM EDT

A severe famine has attacked Tanzania, threatening the lives of thousands of Tanzanians. In response to the critical drought condition in Tanzania, Christian humanitarian groups are reaching out for hunger relief in Tanzania and other poor countries in Africa.

Compassion International, a Christian children outreach group, has decided to provide emergency food supplies for people who are suffering in the region. Currently Compassion is running 99 projects in Tanzania, half them focusing on children who are affected by the drought.

Compassion is planning to provide food relief for more than 10,000 children and 31,000 family members. Maize, beans, and cooking oil will be given to hunger victims, which make up the three essential food nutrients which would help them to survive better during the time of crisis. On top of food relief, Compassion is also offering health care, education, vocational and Christian training.

Compassion reported that approximately 80 percent of Tanzania's nearly 36 million people depend on agriculture to make a living. In some areas food prices have doubled due to the shortage and impoverished families are having difficulty paying the extreme prices.

The crisis could continue for several more months if there aren't enough crops for everyone, said Dr. Emmanuel D. Mbennah, Compassion's Tanzania country director.

"The situation is critical," Mbennah said. "Most of these families are subsistence farmers, casual laborers or petty traders. These activities only provide income if there's good rain."

Compassion president, Dr. Wesley K. Stafford, said, "Compassion provides emergency assistance of this type to our existing projects when the situation is as critical as the current famine situation with Tanzania. This is one of those life-and-death times. We urge the Christian community to continue to pray on behalf of this country and its people."

Meanwhile, World Vision, another Christian humanitarian group, founded in 1950, mobilized young Christians to participate in 30 Hour Famine to raise money to help fight hunger in Tanzania, Zambia, and Malawi in Africa and other poor countries around the world. 30 Hour Famine is still ongoing in some cities across the nation. In 2003, more than 600,000 teens across the country raised more than $8 million to combat famine worldwide.

Bread for the World, Hunger Basics, 2004 shows that:

-- Each day, more than 29,000 children die from malnutrition or diseases associated with malnutrition like malaria and acute respiratory infections.

-- In developing countries, 1 child in 10 dies before his or her fifth birthday. By comparison, in the United States, 1 in 165 children dies before turning 5.

-- In the last 50 years, 400 million people worldwide have died from hunger and poor sanitation. That figure is three times the number of people killed in all wars fought in the 20th century.

-- The wealthiest fifth of the world's people consume 86 percent of all goods and services, while the poorest fifth consume 1 percent.

-- In the United States, 34.9 million people — including 13.1 million children — live in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger. This represents about 1 in 10 households in the U.S.

-- Pre-school and school-aged children who experience severe hunger have higher levels of chronic illness, anxiety, depression and behavior problems than do well-fed children.

-- Malnutrition can severely affect a child's intellectual development. Children suffering from malnutrition score significantly lower on achievement tests that do well-nourished children.