by Cheon Young Cheol

More than one million people in the southern Madagascar are in dire need of emergency food and nutrition support due to a catastrophic shortage of food resources.  Since September 2020, Madagascar has been trapped in a severe drought, the worst in 40 years, resulting in a famine.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, in recent months, for the first time in the country, pockets of Phase Five, or ‘Catastrophe’ food insecurity have been recorded. Some 14,000 people have already reached this catastrophic stage where they have absolutely nothing left to eat. The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that if we don’t act now, the number of people facing starvation will double by October 2021.

Reports from news outlets and eye witnesses paint bleak pictures of the reality on the ground:

“Hunger is already driving people to eat raw cactus, wild leaves and locusts, a food source of last resort. The WFP, which is on the ground helping with food distribution, describes scenes of unimaginable suffering, with families bartering everything they have—even cooking pots and spoons—for the paltry tomatoes, scrawny chickens and few bags of rice still available in the markets.”  – TIME

“The next planting season is less than two months away and the forecast for food production is bleak. The land is covered by sand; there is no water and little chance of rain.” writes WFP spokesperson.

“In Ambovombe, the main town in the hard-hit Androy region, hundreds have been surviving without help for months. They beg and eat food scraps from the market – even leather offcuts given to them by sandal makers. Boiled with a little salt to soften it or grilled, the leather “tears up our stomachs, but it’s because we have nothing. We’re suffering badly”” – Aljazeera.

Appeal for help

On behalf of the people of Madagascar and the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) Council for World Mission is appealing for financial support towards food distribution efforts.  The United Nations estimates that Madagascar will need $78.6m to provide vital food aid in the next lean season starting in October.  Many communities have already started mobilising resources towards this cause.   CWM  is inviting contributions to the Solidarity Action Fund, a sum from which has already been remitted to the FJKM. Contributions can be sent directly to this fund  or to any reputable organisation that is responding to this crisis. The most important thing is to respond.

The Union of Welsh Independents (UWI), a CWM member church, is currently raising funds for UK-based charity Money for Madagascar (MfM)’s emergency appeal.  MfM’s famine feeding programme is run in partnership with ALT MG (Andry Lalana Toahana), a reputable Malagasy NGO who has run food security, education and emergency feeding projects in the South for over a decade. To date, MfM has delivered over £20,000, and is seeking famine aid to continue providing nutritious meals daily to all 650 children in 2 primary schools in Amboasary Sud. For more information and to donate, please visit  https://moneyformadagascar.org/famine-appeal/

For more about the situation and how to support the work of the World Food Programme in Madagascar, visit https://www.wfp.org/countries/madagascar

For  information on how to send financial support to the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM) through CWM’s Solidarity Action Fund, write to council@cwmission.org

Let us pray

‘Disturb our comfort when others are hungry, Oh Lord…’  Prayer for the FJKM and the people of Southern Madagascar by Rev. Dr Sindiso Jele (CWM Mission Secretary – Africa)

As we pray for the people of southern Madagascar, oh lord, we are mindful of the following:

  1. There are hungry because of the climate change, in that oh Lord we confess our sin as a community of the created world for having failed to be good stewards
  2. There are hungry because of the former colonial masters/mistresses who looted all what would have been used to escape poverty.
  3. There are hungry because, the colonial system pushed them to the margins where the land is not productive, where there is no water, and this done to create space for the empire and ruling elite.

Father God, mother of love and peace hear our prayers

Through the reading of the gospel(s), we hear the persistent call to feed the hungry and find shelter for the homeless.

Remind us, O dear God, that we cannot rest fully secure in our homes each night until all your children in the Southern Madagascar are fed.

Father God, mother of love and peace, Help us not to be the hypocrites of lip service but the disciples of action, as we listen to the cries of the people of Southern Madagascar.

Heavenly Father, Lord, you promised to supply our needs, and I am asking you to be mindful of people of Southern Madagascar who do not have food. Would you speak love into the hearts of the communities of faith and encourage them to share with the people of Southern Madagascar.

Father God, mother of love and peace, Holy One, Giver of blessings that nurture the earth and feed our bodies and souls, hear our prayers

As we pray for the equitable sharing of the riches of the harvest, for more people of faith willing to put their faith into action, You have called us to live, we lift up to You those who are hungry and malnourished in Madagascar

We pray God that you use your people to assist them in receiving exactly what they need today. And, in Your mercy, provide the means to sustain them with the necessities of life from this day forward.

Move on us (CWM, the member churches and the ecumenical partners), to be agents of your provision. Stir the hearts that when we feed and clothe those in need, AND give us wisdom that when feed then we are feeding Jesus (Mt 25:34-46).

Father, we ask you to open our eyes and be sensitive to your spirit. Help us to have the heart and mind of Christ. Teach us to be aware of the needs of your people, it our belief that God is among the people of the Southern Madagascar and we need to join God there.

Revelation 21:1-4 ‘…. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people {of Southern Madagascar}, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes (and feed them through his mission partners) …’

Father God, mother of love and peace; unite our voices in a call for justice:

Above all dear God, mother of love and peace teach us not only to give the hungry but to eat with the hungry too.

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