In comments to staff of the World Council of Churches (WCC) on Aug. 18, the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit expressed alarm at the “blocking and hindering of the food supply in famine-struck Somalia, with the effect that more and more people are dying. This interference with humanitarian aid is inhumane and must be strongly condemned.”

The WCC general secretary continued: “Recent reports indicate that 400,000 children are at risk of death if action is not taken now. People of all ages are dying, hour by hour. Governments must find workable solutions to the political circumstances that hinder the delivery of water, food and other supplies.”

He continued, “The famine is a human tragedy that should be addressed immediately, regardless of political struggles in a given nation. The international community, including African churches and all church-related relief agencies, must move swiftly to make assistance available. Innocent lives are at stake.”

Tveit voiced WCC support for its partners in Somalia and throughout the Horn of Africa, particularly the ACT Alliance, an alliance of 111 churches and agencies working in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. The alliance includes the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

He concluded, “The World Council of Churches calls upon churches, specialized ministries and generous individuals to lend financial support to the work of the ACT Alliance and its member organizations. At this crucial time, it is essential that we remember to keep all the people of the Horn of Africa in our prayers.”