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Responding to the Hunger Crisis

Impact Stories

Climate change, conflict and other factors have led to emergency levels of hunger in many countries across the globe. In Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, some 23 million people are without reliable access to food and water due to the ongoing severe drought. 

Many people are also living in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons because conflicts, such as those in Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have forced thousands of families from their homes. South Sudan, Chad, DRC and the Central African Republic have received refugees—but these countries’ resources were already strained. 

Recognizing the need to support the world’s hungriest, PWS&D has been responding for many years in countries now acutely affected by this crisis. 


An ongoing drought in Kenya has affected close to 90 percent of the population. Farmers’ crops have failed to grow on the parched land, leaving even more people food insecure amid elevated market prices. A sad consequence, many are concerned about an increase in gender-based violence and early marriage due to the economic hardships being experienced.

PWS&D has been supporting food security work in Kenya for many years. This spring, help was mobilized through the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund at Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Three months of food baskets served the needs of 2,006 vulnerable households, with special attention to women and girls, elderly people, and those living with disabilities. 


The situation in Somalia has approached famine-like conditions: 1.8 million people have been displaced over the past year, primarily coming to camps in search of food and humanitarian aid. Sadly, 40 percent of Somalia’s population is currently listed as severely food insecure—with more people facing that reality every day. 

Now healthier after receiving therapeutic supplemental feeding, 11-month-old Abdi plays with his mother. PHOTO CREDIT: TROCAIRE

Abdi, his three-year-old sibling, and his parents were forced to leave their home due to severe drought. “We spent two days and one night on the road in a donkey cart before arriving [at the Jazira Internally Displaced Persons camp],” reflects Abdi’s mother, Gabey. “The drought and displacement left us with no food to eat and no source of income.” 

At 11 months old, Abdi was particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. When a nutrition worker visited the camp, Abdi was selected to participate in a therapeutic food program supported by PWS&D. His health has now improved, and Abdi spends his days playing with those around him with childlike joy.

“I feel so much better and calmer now that he is better than before,” reflects Gabey.

PWS&D is continuing a response in Somalia that provides integrated health and nutrition services, some of which are mobile to meet the needs of those in rural areas. The project improves the nutrition of the most vulnerable population, particularly children under five years old and pregnant and lactating women, through therapeutic feeding, nutritional training, and food baskets. The program has served over 22,000 people.

South Sudan

South Sudan is facing its highest levels of food insecurity and malnutrition since independence 11 years ago. With this year’s lean season, from May to September, the worst on record, 9.4 million people are expected to need humanitarian assistance by the end of 2023.

A current response by PWS&D’s partner Tearfund is assisting 1,200 households, primarily female-headed, by providing a series of four food vouchers intended to get families to the next harvest. 

Respond with Us

PWS&D and other humanitarian organizations are relentlessly serving people in need in these and other East African countries. From May 1 to June 30, PWS&D participated in a Humanitarian Coalition appeal through our membership at Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Funds received through this appeal were matched by the Government of Canada to make the support go even further. 

However, as political instability and hostile weather conditions continue, even more humanitarian help is needed. Respond with us by supporting PWS&D’s ongoing work.

*This story was first printed in the Fall 2023 issue of Presbyterian Connection newspaper.

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Hunger Crisis
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