As hunger and disease claim more lives, some ask if Africa can be saved
AFRICA – At the dawn of a new millennium, the continent that some say witnessed the birth of the first human civilizations — may be dying. As widespread drought, starvation and the unchecked spread of deadly diseases continue — the numbers of people dying on a daily basis throughout Africa is staggering.
In many parts of Africa, the production of food depends upon the intense manual labor of every family. When large areas of Africa are dislocated by war especially southern Sudan where a war of ethnic cleansing is being waged, or adults die from the scourge of AIDS, fields cannot be worked, and food cannot be produced. Many, especially women and children are forced to depend upon hand outs of food. Unpredictable weather can also aggravate the situation.
Starvation is claiming lives. One international relief agency recently discovered a village in a remote region of West Africa where more than 18,000 people were on the verge of starvation. “Malnutrition is so great in this area,” a relief worker explained, “that most of the children under five years old had starved to death before we arrived. An entire hillside was covered with fresh graves of the children who had recently died.”