Food distributions in Nigeria continue during 'lean period'




 EYN staff distribute food during this year's 'lean period' in northeast Nigeria
 EYN's Disaster Ministry Response team distributes food to Nigerians in need during the country's "lean period" between last year's harvest and the new crop. This year, as in recent years, hunger during this time is exacerbated by the violence and displacement caused by the Boko Haram insurgency. PHotos are by Roxane Hill, coordinator of the Nigeria Crisis Response.
 A crowd gathers for an outdoor food distribution in the Maiduguri area

by Roxane Hill

The months from July until late October are called the “lean period” in Nigeria because food from last year’s harvest is almost gone, and the new crop is not yet ready. The Boko Haram insurgency has compounded this problem with a decreased ability to even plant crops. Statistics from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Nigeria) states that 8.5 million people in the area are still in need of humanitarian assistance.

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The Disaster Ministry Response team of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren) has been very active in the last few months with eight food distributions. A lot of planning and effort goes into providing an organized distribution to around 300 families at a time. Food must be bought in the local market, loaded on trucks, and taken to the distribution point (often a church). The district leaders must have a list of needy families in their area and have contacted them to convene for the distribution.

The food distributions include a lot of waiting as the process unfolds. They are a visual reminder of the insecurity in the area and the devastation that has affected the people’s lives, when they receive the food in a destroyed church. There is happiness, however, in receiving the much needed food.

Please continue to pray for the people of northeast Nigeria.

-- Roxane Hill is coordinator of the Nigeria Crisis Response, a joint effort of EYN and the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries. For more information go to www.brethren.org/nigeriacrisis .

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