COVENTRY, UK – The Barnabas Fund has sent out a plea for additional funding to help the East Africans hanging on to their lives by a thread while contending with multiple life-threatening disasters. The emerging novel Coronavirus is just one more danger for thousands of African people struggling for survival.
Life in Africa is far removed from the American dream and lifestyle. Millions of Africans are worried, not about their lifestyles. They are worried about their lives. Daily. They seek answers to subsistence as we are consumed with style.
The Coronavirus is just beginning to emerge on the African Continent. As of noon, EDT, Friday, May 8, the total number of confirmed cases is slightly fewer than 56,000. At the current rate, that number should exceed 56,000 by tomorrow. The World Health Organization estimates that the Coronavirus will kill nearly 200,000 people in Africa once it gains traction.
This is a continent already engulfed in malaria, dengue fever, cholera, smallpox, hemorrhagic fever, leprosy, tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, and Ebola in epidemic proportions.
In February, Missions Box News reported the “Locust Invasion of Biblical Proportion” in Africa. On record as the worst locust outbreak in 25 years, experts estimated the ravaging locust population in the billions.
After destroying thousands of acres of crops before continuing eastward, a second generation estimated in the trillions is compounding the damage. Because the weather conditions are ideal for breeding, a third larger generation is expected to hatch within the next three months.
Matt Simon reported in Wired that, just like the Coronavirus, “the terrifying reality is that if you don’t stop a locust swarm early, there’s very little you can do to stop its spread.”
The president of the African Development Bank warned that “Coronavirus could kill, but hunger kills many more people.” He added that a single swarm of desert locusts can “consume crops in one day that can feed approximately 35,000 people.”
Rainfall and Flooding
For the past several weeks, Africans have been hammered by torrential rains and displaced by massive flooding that have washed away roads, thousands of homes, and entire communities. The flooding has destroyed crops and contaminated water supplies.
At least 11,000 people have been displaced in Rwanda.
The Red Cross reported that “Roads are cut, bridges have been destroyed, [and] access to health facilities is becoming a challenge” in Kenya.
Lake Victoria has risen to its highest-ever height surpassing a record set in 1964, prompting Uganda’s ministry for water and environment to release 2,400 cubic meters of water per second to avoid damages to the country’s primary source of electrical power generation.
More than 100,000 people have lost their homes in Ethiopia.
An entire town was washed away, and its residents lost in the floodwaters in Somalia.
It’s not likely that you have heard or read about this news from East Africa. But we cannot help if we do not know when help is needed. Amanda Lichtenstein, writing in Global Voices, reminds us that
“Focusing just on the Coronavirus in East Africa — and not also on the desert locusts or massive flooding due to climate change — is not an option. The future depends on it.”
- Barnabas Fund, Floods make triple tragedy in East Africa: your gift will bring hope and help
- BBC News, Kenya, Somalia and Rwanda hit by deadly flooding
- The Telegraph, Flooding and landslides kill at least 65 in northern Rwanda
- The New Humanitarian, Flooding sweeps Kenya, displacing thousands
- Global Voices, COVID-19, locusts and floods: East Africa’s triple dilemma