Many countries on the African continent are experiencing severe disturbances in the form of famine, war, and refugee displacement. While the world’s attention has turned to other areas like Syria and Central America, Africa is in serious need of support from countries around the globe. Akintayo Emmanuel, Overseer of God’s Remnant Assembly, examines the African humanitarian crisis in detail and offers solutions on behalf of the compassionate people of the world.
People forced to become refugees are driven from their own countries of origin due to war, safety issues, famine, and political oppression. More than 26 percent of the refugee population of the world can be found in sub-Saharan Africa. The countries producing the most refugees are the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Nigeria. Also becoming areas of great concern are Burundi and Yemen.
Families who are threatened by war and government forces flee to neighboring countries, often on foot. These refugees often arrive with only the clothes on their backs. They need food, shelter, and security to survive. Refugees can strain a country’s support system, forcing them to divert much-needed resources away from their own people. Not every country welcomes refugees, housing them in poor conditions and allowing disease and hunger to affect the population.
In the Central African Republic, internal conflicts resulted in the displacement of 180,000 citizens. These citizens were forced to leave their lands of origin and resettle elsewhere in the country. In South Sudan, over two million people have fled from the country, causing disruption and separation to family units. Many of these refugees have settled temporarily in Uganda, which has taken in one million refugees from South Sudan and other areas.
Armed conflicts have precipitated displacements in South Sudan. In South Sudan, a civil war threatens the safety and security of its people. Assisted by soldiers from Uganda, the South Sudanese army is in conflict with opposition forces. An estimated 400,000 people have died in this civil war. The war has caused famine since the areas in conflict are agricultural.
Another serious conflict is taking place in Yemen. Fighting has caused 2 million people to leave their homes. Even though Yemen is in conflict, people facing even worse conditions in Somalia have fled there.
Nigeria is experiencing severe conflict due to the actions of the Islamic sect Boko Haram. 2.4 million people have been displaced. Other countries affected by Boko Haram include Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. Malnutrition and food insecurity affect the Nigerian population, causing disease and death.
Famine has broken out in several African countries. A severe drought in East Africa has hampered efforts to feed the population. Armed conflicts have also brought about famine conditions. Yemen is experiencing war conditions which have disrupted harvests. 60 percent of the population in Yemen are facing food insecurity and malnutrition.
While solving the world’s humanitarian problems is not possible with one country’s actions alone, countries that are more fortunate can cooperate to provide aid. The United Nations has been instrumental in assembling aid for these countries and by providing observers in areas where there is armed conflict. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also given a great amount of aid to African countries which are experiencing these conditions.
Akintayo Emmanuel believes that people of faith should band together and help refugee populations that are in need of assistance. Religious groups can fundraise as well as travel abroad to help people who are in the midst of the crisis. They can also put pressure on government organizations to take up their responsibilities to help the displaced people in Africa.
When people of faith show that they care for others, they project a good example for the world. Humanitarian crises such as war, famine, and refugees are complex, but people of faith can come together and make a difference one person at a time.