Ambassador Tony Hall serves as Convoy of Hope’s Special Advisor on Hunger. He recently discussed the Africa Hunger Crisis that could soon become a famine in many parts of East Africa. With tens of millions of lives at stake, Ambassador Hall believes time is of the essence and every citizen in the United States can play a significant role in combating the crisis.
Convoy: Reports suggest that many countries in East Africa are on the brink of mass famine, so why should friends of Convoy of Hope be concerned?
Ambassador Hall: Today in areas threatened by famine, people are at risk of dying from starvation at a rate that rivals that of World War II. We need to pay attention and intervene in this crisis because we can play a part in saving the lives of children and families. Convoy of Hope knows what to do and is already on the ground helping those in need.
Convoy: Six years ago, more than 260,000 people died in Africa because of famine. With the region on the brink of famine once again, why is the media not reporting on the crisis?
Ambassador Hall: There are so many things going on throughout the world from the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, to threats from North Korea, to terrorist attacks on civilians in major cities throughout the world that the hunger crisis in Africa is being overlooked. It’s our moral duty to make the crisis in East Africa a story that we not only advocate for, but one that we intervene in and take action to correct.
Convoy: Food insecurity, famine and lack of proper nutrition take a severe toll on all who are caught up in it. Describe what those scourges look like on the ground.
Ambassador Hall: The first 1,000 days of a child’s life from conception to age 2 are crucial days that dictate the child’s quality of life. When children do not get proper nutrition and care during those first days they suffer stunted growth, impaired brain development, and their immune systems are so weakened that they become more prone to diseases that can take their lives. This is not acceptable and it can be corrected with proper nutrition. There is enough food for everyone, we just need to get it to those in need.
Convoy: If we end hunger, we wipe out many other factors that kill people too?
Ambassador Hall: Twenty-one thousand people die every day. This is absolutely senseless. When you compound the impact diseases can have on a person’s life with a hunger crisis or famine and the results are devastating to millions and millions of people. We have to take a stand against hunger and do everything within our means to combat it.
Convoy: Besides supporting Convoy of Hope’s work on the ground in East Africa, what else can our friends do to combat the hunger crisis and impending famine?
Ambassador Hall: There are several things every American can do! First, start advocating by alerting and educating your children, family, friends and neighbors. Use your influence on social media to bring awareness to the problem. We also need to reach out our elected officials and let them know that the crisis in East Africa is one that the United States needs to be actively involved in combating.
Convoy: You’ve said taking on this crisis and working toward ending it is a moral duty. Can you elaborate on that?
Ambassador Hall: The Gospels talk of Jesus imploring us to help the least of these. That was as true then as it is today. We have a moral responsibility to help those who are hungry and suffering. I am thankful that Convoy of Hope is actively working to end both. In doing so, we are not only helping those in need — we are stopping the spread of ISIS and other terrorists who are actively recruiting hungry and hurting people. If we don’t feed the hungry and help those who are hurting, ISIS and others of their ilk will. The fact is, hunger is a security issue and we cannot stand by.
Convoy: Anything else you’d like add?
Ambassador Hall: The burden is on all of us to bring awareness to this crisis and to be actively involved in combating it. Twenty-one million people are facing starvation. Let’s help Convoy of Hope help them.
Learn more about Convoy of Hope’s response here.