Despite recent rainfall in the East African country of Tanzania, a severe famine has prompted Compassion International, one of the world's largest child development agencies, to provide emergency food supplies to the region. The lives of thousands of Tanzanian people are being threatened by drought conditions that have caused severe damage to crops.
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."
Nearly half of Compassion's 99 Tanzanian child development centers include children who are being affected by the drought. To assist the children and families throughout the country, Compassion will be providing food relief for more than 10,000 Compassion children and nearly 31,000 family members, who will receive maize, beans and cooking oil. Supplying these three essential food types helps ensure that the children and their families receive adequate food and are better equipped to survive during this crisis.
Families receiving aid are already part of the Compassion program. Children in the program receive not only supplemental food but also services such as health care, education, vocational and Christian training. These services are provided because of the financial generosity and prayers of sponsors all over the world.
"Compassion provides emergency assistance of this type to our existing projects when the situation is as critical as the current famine situation with Tanzania," said Dr. Wess Stafford, Compassion President and CEO. "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."
Compassion International is dedicated to the long-term holistic development of children living in poverty, working with more than 65 denominations and hundreds of indigenous church partners in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Since 1952, Compassion has touched the lives of more than a million children. Learn more about this revolutionary approach to child development visit www.compassion.com or call (800) 336-7676.