East Africa

Appeal launched after one-in-a-lifetime disaster hits Kenya and Uganda

Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali

Anglican Archbishops and leaders make concerted bid to save lives with Barnabas Fund

Anglican Archbishops and many other leaders from around the world are backing an urgent Barnabas Fund appeal for food aid in East Africa – a region currently undergoing a crisis ignored by media and many NGOs.

Kenya and Uganda are experiencing their worst conditions in fifty years as freak weather and drought, due to the El Nino climatic effect, together with refugee flows from war-torn South Sudan, have edged populations to starvation.

Barnabas Fund’s Project Joseph is feeding some of the most vulnerable people in the region. Now the Anglican churches in the region have asked Barnabas Fund for extra help.

“The Church of Uganda has asked us to feed 70,000 for the next three months,” said Barnabas Fund Chief Executive Officer, Hendrik Storm.  “The deaths have already begun due to drought but we can save many lives for relatively small amounts of money.”

In Kenya one family can be fed for £30 per month and costs are even lower in Uganda where food is cheaper.

“We are appealing for food aid to help us against this ravaging drought,” said Canon Christopher Chochoi from East Pokot, Kenya, which is experiencing its worst drought for fifty years with no rain since June 2016.

“Cattles, donkeys and camels have died before our own eyes,” continued Canon Chochoi. “Humans are faced with starvation … [they] have now resorted to boiling and eating wild fruit.  They boil the fruits for several hours to remove poison before eating them … I doubt we will survive in the next few months.”

From the nearby Diocese of Marsabit, Rev. Jeremiah Omar reports that 70 per cent of the livestock are already dead from drought – a disaster for the many nomadic communities in the area.  The whole of northern Kenya and parts of its coastal region are suffering from drought.  An added problem is that many of the worst affected areas – in the north and the coastal region – are the places where Christians are a despised, marginalised and oppressed minority amongst a Muslim majority.

The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali, said: “We are being overwhelmed with refugees from South Sudan.” The country has absorbed over half a million refugees from South Sudan since last July. They are mostly women and children.

“Many people have very little apart from their clothes they are wearing … people were robbed by armed gangs as they were travelling and lost all their possessions,” said Rev. Canon Nason Baluku, Coordinator of Planning, Development and Rehabilitation for the Province of the Church of Uganda, which is seeking to assist the refugees.

The Barnabas Fund appeal is supported by the Archbishop of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, the Archbishop of Kenya, Jackson Ole Sapit and the Archbishop of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh. Many Anglican Archbishops and bishops have added their names including Archbishop Ben Kwashi of Jos, Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Jensen, General Secretary of Gafcon, and the English bishops of Maidstone, Rod Thomas, and Birkenhead, Keith Sinclair. Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey and Lord Donald Curry of Kirkhale, member of a key all-Parliamentary group on South Sudan, have added their names to the appeal.

For further information and a full list of signatories see here