I am so thankful for the rain we received this past weekend.
I’m thankful because most of Texas is currently in an exceptional drought status. The 12 months ending on August 31st were the driest 12 months in Texas history, with most of the state receiving just 21 percent of its annual average rainfall. Its reported that areas in both Texas and Oklahoma would need 9 to 23 inches of rain over the next month to emerge from the drought. The latest predictions expect Texas to continue to experience abnormally warm and dry conditions from October to December, thanks to another La Nina weather cycle.
Since November 15th of last year, over 22 thousand wildfires have burned 3.7 million acres in Texas, and destroyed over 1600 homes, making it the worst wildfire season ever. In Texas alone, crop losses because of the drought have topped $5 billion. One of the worst droughts in Texas history has not only been disastrous for farmers but is also impacting cattle ranchers who are selling off some of their best cattle as a way to minimize their losses caused by a statewide hay shortage. It’s been sad watching everything turn brown and heartbreaking to watch news reports on firefighters trying to contain the wildfires.
Not to minimize the situation, but I went grocery shopping today. The shelves were still stocked. I was able to buy whatever I wanted to feed my family over the next week. I also did laundry. And took a shower. I drank coffee. All this requires water. Even though we are on water restrictions, I still have access to water. Enough water that I don’t really feel the impact of the restrictions.
Then I saw an article discussing the drought in the Horn of Africa.
The article described drought conditions in the Horn of Africa that are the worst in 60 years. Along with failed crops, the lack of rain has caused a sharp decline in livestock production and an increasing loss of livestock. As a result, there is little or no milk available, and food availability becomes limited. Reports say that conflict over scarce resources also exacerbates the food problems. Rising costs for food and non-food items are expected to worsen the already precarious food situation.
The severe food crisis is creating high malnutrition rates, and parts of Kenya and Somalia are experiencing pre-famine conditions. As of August, 29,000 children under age five have already died in Somalia due to the drought. Out of a population of roughly 7.5 million, over 3 million Somalis are in need of immediate lifesaving assistance. Some 3.75 million Kenyans face food insecurity, a number that continues to rise. An additional 478,000 refugees are also in dire need of emergency aid.
While the drought in Texas is devastating, the impacts of the drought in the Horn of Africa are staggering. And humbling. I don’t even think I can really compare the two. I know the victims of the drought in Texas are not forgotten and will be helped. We have a way of rallying together as a nation to help victims of disasters. Even now, assistance is being provided and I’m confident more is being planned. Thankfully, people are not ignoring the situation on the other side of the world. Organizations exist that are also providing relief and recovery assistance to the victims of the drought in the Horn of Africa.
I continually pray for a change in the weather pattern that will bring the rain we need in Texas. Now, however, I am also including the Horn of Africa in these prayers for rain.
Links to a few relief organizations to consider:www.feedthechildren.org www.worldvision.org www.samaritanspurse.org www.redcross.org
Information provided from:msnbc.com, 15 september, 2011 KTXS News, 19 september 2011. Texas Forest Service, 19 september 2011 Dayton News, Houston, 19 september 2011 Reuters, 20 September 2011 Associate Press, 4 August 2011 World Vision, September 8, 2011