An article on summarizes the worst food crisis in half a century now happening in the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and parts of Uganda, Eritrea, and Djibouti. More than 11 million men, women, and children are suffering and dying in squalid refugee camps. Thousands more are already dead from starvation and malnutrition-related diseases. The situation is being caused by a prolonged drought in the area aggravated by political instability and war, particularly in southern Somalia. There is no end of the drought or the suffering in sight.

At the camps, international aid organizations are working hard to serve the suffering. Care staff members claim that 1,500 displaced refugees are arriving every day to live in terrible conditions often without medical aid, sanitation, or water. Among the new arrivals, 80 percent of them are children. International aid groups are calling this the worst food crisis since the Great Chinese Famine of the late 1950s. This slideshow is a small window into the crisis.

And so we pray this news:

Forgive us, Creator God
for not paying close attention
to the plight of so many African
men, women, and children
displaced by drought and war.
May all be fed.
May all be healed,
May all be loved.

Our hearts go out to all who have lost
their homes, their crops, and their livestock.
Many have had to walk across the desert
to reach the refugee camps, and they
are hungry, exhausted, and drained of hope.
May all be fed.
May all be healed,
May all be loved.

Now there are so many mouths to feed,
so many bodies to shelter, and so many
children who are dying before their time.
We can see in the faces of their parents
the excruciating suffering and loss
and the grief that sometimes
never goes away but is played out
again and again in the mind.
May all be fed.
May all be healed.
May all be loved.

We pray for these many people that they
might find the strength and the resilience
to survive and make it through the months
and even years in refugee camps.
May their desperation and depression melt
as they experience the kindness and care
of others. May they one day soon
return home or find another place
where they can build new dreams.
May all be fed.
May all be healed.
May all be loved.*

*"May all" phrases from John Robbins

Next Post: A Prayer for the Drought-Stricken Places