There is an uneven distribution of food in the world. There is a huge amount of surplus food in the rich countries that are thrown away every day. In the report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN published in 2011, 1/3 of food fit for human consumption was wasted away, totaling 1.3 billion tonnes. But in the poor countries, many people struggle to have enough food, or suffer from under-nutrition.
International Year of Soils 2015: Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life
The UN has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. There are more than 805 million people facing hunger and malnutrition in the world. Population growth will require an approximately increase of 60 percent in food production. As food production mainly depends on soils, it is important to keep them healthy and productive.
Continue reading International Year of Soils 2015: Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life
Keep West Africa in Your Prayers
IFRC health workers start the day praying with Ebola patients in the outside area in front of their tents (October 2014)
As we step into the 9th month of the most serious Ebola outbreak in history that first started at Guinea in March 2014, the epidemic has subsequently spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal with one imported case from Liberia and associated locally acquired cases in healthcare workers in USA. The total number of reported cases has reached over ten thousand people and resulted in nearly 5,000 deaths, most of them coming from severely affected Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The grave situation is believed to worsen in the coming months – it is estimated that there will be as many as 1.4 million cases by the end of January 2015 (if corrections for underreporting are made) unless robust interventions take place.
May God Heal the Brokenness of the People in South Sudan
[ePrayer – Pray for those helpless and powerless in South Sudan]
Since the eruption of fighting between the government and the opposition forces in mid-December that span across nearly half of South Sudan, UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) has estimated that at least 923,000 South Sudanese are displaced within their own country and over 293,000 people have become refugees in neighbouring countries. Tens of thousands of the displaced civilians are seeking shelter at UN peacekeeping bases (UNMISS) throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that one-third of the population of South Sudan is now experiencing food shortage. Some areas of the country will be even at high risk of famine in the coming months.
In the past 5 months, gross human rights abuses have been committed by both sides in the brutal conflict, including rapes, mass killings and torture. According to a recent United Nations report, civilians were not only caught up in the violence, but were directly targeted, often along ethnic lines.
The current militarised environment places women and girls at a heightened risk of sexual violence, as armed men are seen everywhere and civilian law enforcement is virtually absent,. Even those sheltered in UN bases are not safe. Women and girls are harassed at night. Many are even too fearful to bathe at night or go out to the toilet. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) estimated that 10,000 displaced women and girls reside in areas that are inaccessible to aid organisations and are at risk of sexual violence. [IRIN, UN News (1), UN News (2)]
Meditation on Scriptures:
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
(Psalm 146: 6-9)
In the Old Testament, the foreigner, fatherless and widow are always mentioned together. These three groups of people are the most powerless among the marginalised. The foreigners live in places not of their own, the fatherless lost their parents and live alone without any provision from others, and the widows are often ignored in the community and live without dignity. God extends His powerful arm to protect and help the most powerless, and is pleased with those who act according to His will.
Come, let us raise our hands and pray for the refugees, orphans and widows affected by the current conflict in South Sudan; and for the God’s servants who are walking with the helpless and powerless in the frontline.
Pray for those helpless and powerless in South Sudan:
- Thanks God for the recent signing of an agreement between the government and the opposition forces to resolve the crisis in South Sudan, and pray for an immediate cessation of hostilities;
- Pray for God’s provision to the hungers, that the children and women are protected, and those suffered from diseases, violence, abuses and traumas are healed;
- Medair and Tearfund UK, also member agencies of Integral Alliance, are now serving the helpless and powerless in South Sudan. Pray for their works and safety.