International aid agency World Vision UK is backing a global prayer day aimed at mobilising millions of Christians to act to prevent the mass starvation of children and their communities in Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and Nigeria.
The World Council of Churches has declared 21 May a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine in response to warnings that more than 20 million people face starvation in what the UN has declared the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945. The call to action for Christians to pray and engage with churches, governments and society comes days before the G7 meets in Italy on 26-27 May. The G7 will discuss food security, crisis situations in sub-Saharan Africa and migration.
Tim Pilkington, CEO of World Vision UK, said: “Millions of people are facing a potentially catastrophic hunger crisis. Alongside South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria, World Vision UK is also tremendously concerned about the looming famine in Kenya and Ethiopia – where even more families are on the cusp of starvation.
“We are working fast to deliver aid on the ground where it is most needed, but more needs to be done. The prayers of Christians around the world are vitally needed. Please pray that God would inspire the hearts of international leaders, and raise up people who will transform the lives of vulnerable children affected by this crisis.”
World Vision UK hopes the Day of Prayer will raise awareness among the half a billion Christians that member churches globally within the WCC represent. Christians are urged to pray for peace where conflict is driving the crisis and to take action, including by giving to agencies who are working on the ground.
Chine McDonald, Head of Christian Influence & Engagement for World Vision UK, said: “More than one million children are on the brink of death and need aid now. The crisis is urgent and the response must be both swift and effective. We are urging churches throughout the UK to mobilise their members to actively pray that God releases people, finance, and aid to save lives that could otherwise be lost.”
Currently World Vision UK is delivering life-saving food, water, and health interventions in South Sudan, where famine has already been declared, in Somalia, which is on the brink, and responding to the needs of Nigerian refugees who have fled violence to Chad and Niger.
A statement from the World Council of Churches said: “We are not only called to respond to the needs of our sisters and brothers in dire situations in a compassionate, timely and sufficient manner. We are also commanded to see the divine in those who are suffering and to appreciate their resilience, opinions, and solutions and to respect their dignity as we respond. May our prayers invoke the grace of God, and mobilize people to bring about peace and an end to hunger and violence!”