Published: 00:00 GMT Daylight Time - Wednesday 06 October 2010
Anxious wait for harvest after Barnabas food aid saves lives in Niger
Project(s): 38-568, 38-906
Christians still need your help
We are very grateful for the food assistance sent by you. It has made the difference between life and death for us.Village elder
Christians in Niger are praying for a good crop as they enter the harvest season after a widespread food crisis ravaged the country this year.
Severe drought and previously failed harvests resulted in food shortages for around half the Nigerien population in 2010. The current situation is described as “borderline” by Barnabas Fund’s deputy director, Mark Green, who recently returned from a visit to the stricken West African nation.
He toured Christian communities that had received a total of £84,860 (US $134,884, AUS $140,417.07, €97,909) in food aid from Barnabas Fund between March and August. One pastor had literally one day’s supply of food left when aid from Barnabas Fund arrived. He said:
Thank you for this food aid. People were just amazed that sacks arrived out of the blue just at the right moment.
Christian children in a village
which received food aid from Barnabas Fund
Mr Green said:
The sacks of rice and millet we were able to supply to around 1,400 Christian families – as a result of the generosity of our supporters – have been a real lifeline throughout the devastating food shortages this year.
We now need to pray that this season’s harvest will produce sufficient crops for the coming year. And long term, we are working with our local partners on income-generation and development projects that will help to tackle some of the root causes of famine and poverty in Niger.
The food shortages were so severe in one village that some newborn babies died because their mothers had no milk. Animals also perished. Mr Green said the harvest, which is due now, might be even worse in this village than it was last year.
When Mr Green asked Christians what problems they faced because of their faith, they told him that they were erroneously thought to be wealthy and in receipt of lots of aid, so received little government or agency help. They are charged more for goods and services, and Muslim aid is normally given only to Muslims. Christians comprise an estimated 0.5 per cent of the population, which is 97 per cent Muslim.
Niger has faced repeated food crises in the past, and Barnabas Fund has been providing aid for many of the country’s Christians since 2005.
Barnabas Fund is supporting two major income generation projects – four-hectare rice paddy fields and a 1.3-hectare site for market gardening. Ironically, after a period of extreme drought, both are now suffering from extensive flooding of the River Niger, the like of which has not been seen for 46 years.
For more information about Mark Green’s visit to Niger, go to:
Previous press releases:
- Don't forget starving Christians in Niger - July 2010.
- Christians Plead for Help From Their Brothers and Sisters as Famine Looms - May 2010.
If you would like to donate to help our Christian brothers and sisters in Niger please click to donate online using our secure server to project 38-568 ( Niger Famine Relief ). Alternatively for 38-906 (Agricultural Projects) please click here.
If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference 38-568 (Niger Famine Relief) or 38-906 (Agricultural Projects).
For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/568 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).
- That this autumn’s harvest will exceed expectations and provide sufficient supplies for all those affected by the food shortages.
- That Christians will continue to experience the Lord’s provision through the generosity of His people. Pray that they will be strengthened in their faith through this prolonged struggle for survival.
- For wisdom regarding long-term income-generation and development projects.