Christians and others in Mali are in desperate need of food, due to a lack of rain in the crop-growing areas of landlocked Mali last season and subsequent harvest failure in a country where subsistence farming dominates the economy.
According to Barnabas Fund, crop failure in this vast and landlocked country on the edge of the Sahara Desert meant the usual price drop for cereals in November-December did not happen, and by February families were abandoning their fields to try to save their lives. As they migrated to the cities, the price of cereals spiralled dramatically.
Churches are being beseeched but they too have no resources. Christians are a small minority in this Muslim-majority country, and 60 percent lived below the poverty line even before the current crisis. Churches are overwhelmed by Christians who have flooded in from rural areas seeking help.
Jihadi terrorists, such as Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, make life very difficult for the churches and Christians, in addition to the ongoing conflict between the Tuareg people and the Mali government.
‘The next few months will be very critical for many Christian families. Our churches are unprepared and lacking the resources to deal with such a multifaceted crisis’, according to a Malian church leader who predicts that the traditional lean period, June to August, will be ‘very, very hard’ this year for thousands of Christians, with many only having one meal a day.
Barnabas Fund is appealing for funds to send food to 800 priority-need families, with the focus on helping widows, families which have adopted war orphans, the displaced, those who have experienced direct persecution, plus pastors and evangelists.