Famines Update

From Ethiopia’s Tigray region to Yemen, the dilemma of declaring a famine

Matthew 24:33

Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.

Mark 13:29

Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.

Luke 21:31

Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

… And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Luke 21:11).

… Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; (Luke 21:26)

The world is fast approaching a “climate apartheid” where only the wealthy can afford basic food resources in the face of fatal droughts, famine and heatwaves, while the rest of the world suffers. Revelation 6:5-6 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

From Ethiopia’s Tigray region to Yemen, the dilemma of declaring a famine

Alex de Waal – Africa analyst Sat, February 6, 2021, 7:48 PM BBC News

Every day, more and more reports of starvation trickle out of the Tigray region of Ethiopia that has been hit by conflict.

On Wednesday, Mark Lowcock, chief of humanitarian affairs at the United Nations, warned of a deteriorating humanitarian crisis in which aid still wasn’t reaching many affected people.

Earlier in the week, his predecessor Jan Egeland, now head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, was more blunt: “In all my years as an aid worker, I have rarely seen a humanitarian response so impeded and unable to deliver in response for so long, to so many with such pressing needs.”

Mr Egeland went on to say: “The entire aid sector . . . must also recognise our failure to define the scale of the crisis.”

In other words, will the United Nations call out “famine” and if so when?

Farming in Tigray’s rocky soils has long been a precarious endeavour, made worse over the last year by a plague of locusts. At the close of the growing season in September last year, international food security assessments were that 1.6 million of Tigray’s seven million people were relying on food aid to survive.

Conflict broke out on 4 November between forces from the region’s now-ousted ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), and federal troops following sharp differences over the political make-up of the federal government.

The TPLF opposed the 2019 decision of Prime Minister Aibiy Ahmed to dissolve the ruling coalition, of which it was a part, leading to tensions that spiralled out of control.

The UN is now quietly admitting what others – including the United States – have been saying for weeks, which is that Eritrean troops control much of Tigray. The Ethiopian and Eritrean governments continue to deny this.

Most of Tigray has been sealed off from the world since then. Aid agencies are beginning to send their staff back in, and what they describe is disturbing: hospitals ransacked, people living in fear unable to obtain food or money, deaths from hunger and treatable illnesses.

Some Tigrayans who are able to make phone calls tell of massive looting, burning of crops, and literally millions of people beyond the reach of humanitarian aid.

In a leaked internal memo from 8 January, humanitarian staff from the UN, aid agencies and local government warned that hundreds of thousands were at risk of starving to death. They reported that they could not reach 99% of those in need – a number that aid agencies estimate is 4.5 million – more than 60% of Tigray’s population.

The Ethiopian government insists that these reports are exaggerated at best, and that it has the humanitarian crisis under control. It says that only 2.5 million people are in need and says it can reach almost all of them.

Ethiopia’s history of famine denial

It asks the European Union – its biggest donor – not to be distracted by the “transient challenge” of emergency aid to Tigray, and to continue its generous development aid to the country.

However, there is a history of Ethiopian governments hiding their famines.

In 1973, Jonathan Dimbleby’s film The Unknown Famine exposed mass starvation, hidden from the world by Emperor Haile Selassie. About 200,000 people died in the famine.

The emperor’s callous indifference brought Ethiopians on to the streets to protest and he was overthrown the next year.

In 1984, Tigray and the next-door province of Wollo were the epicentre of another famine, this time caused by a combination of drought and war, that led to between 600,000 and one million deaths.

The Ethiopian government at the time denied the existence of that famine until it was exposed by a BBC film crew, led by Michael Buerk and Mohamed Amin. That news report moved pop star Bob Geldof to record Do They Know Its Christmas? and provoke a global outpouring of charity.

That famine discredited the military government of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam at home and abroad. Ethiopians hated being seen as beggars by the rest of the world.

In 2001, Ethiopia, then led by the TPLF, disputed the existence of famine conditions in the south-east of the country, where it was fighting an insurgency. An estimated 20,000-25,000 died in what was officially designated a “humanitarian emergency”.

Over the decades, the international humanitarian system has become far larger and more professional. There are sophisticated systems for monitoring child nutrition and food availability in African countries to give timely warning of food crises, to prevent famine.

Five years ago, the Ethiopian government and foreign donors responded to nationwide drought, setting up a relief programme that helped 10.2 million people.

Instead of old-fashioned food handouts, aid was designed to reach villagers before they were forced to sell their cattle and sheep, and to help them stay on their farms to plant for the next year.

But there are two big differences between the 2015-2016 emergency programme and the situation today: information and politics.

There simply isn’t enough information for the UN to declare a famine.

About 15 years ago, humanitarian professionals in the UN developed a standardized metric for measuring food insecurity. They came up with the “integrated food security phase classification” system, known as the IPC.

It has five (5) levels, from “minimal food insecurity” through increasing degrees of severity to the worst level, “famine”. The IPC uses a standard set of indicators including food consumption, numbers of malnourished children, and death rates.

‘No data, no famine’

This official definition of famine is much more precise than its everyday use as “large numbers of people suffering life-threatening hunger”.

But in solving one problem, the IPC system set up another. Now the UN can only cry “famine” when it has certain very specific information.

And, determined to avoid getting a “famine” designation, governments often conceal or manipulate data to achieve their goal – and downplay the severity of hunger. Meanwhile, in the next levels down, “emergency” and “crisis”, people are still dying – just at a slightly lower rate.

The UN has encountered this problem recently in other humanitarian disasters. In Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition, its client government and the Houthi authorities have denied humanitarian agencies access to hungry areas, meaning they can’t conduct surveys.

Without data on malnutrition, child deaths and food consumption, the members of the IPC committee arrive at the cautious conclusion that it’s an emergency, but they can’t say “famine” because they don’t have the information to prove it.

In South Sudan, the government couldn’t stop the data gathering. But it intervened in the IPC food assessment in December to downgrade the “famine likely” finding.

We shouldn’t be quibbling over definitions. According to a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, over 380,000 people died of hunger and violence over the five years of South Sudan’s civil war – but only around 1% of these died in places that met the official threshold of “famine” in Unity State in 2017.

‘Dilemma for aid agencies’

The other big problem is politics. When the cause of mass starvation is military policy, humanitarian agencies face a terrible dilemma. Will they denounce the abuses and risk getting thrown out of the country? Or will they stay silent and become complicit in starvation crimes?

The Ethiopian government admits only to “sporadic fighting”. However, reports from the affected area show that vast swathes of rural Tigray are either battlefields or are controlled by the insurgent TPLF.

Under the definition of international humanitarian law, this is an armed conflict, and the Tigray rebels constitute a belligerent party. Getting aid to the hungry needs negotiations for a ceasefire with the TPLF – it simply can’t be done with the co-operation of one side only.

Up to now, the TPLF hasn’t offered a ceasefire or access to aid agencies. And there’s always a risk that the rebels will misuse the aid to feed their own troops. That’s why international monitoring is essential.

The starvation in Tigray poses the humanitarians’ dilemma in its sharpest form. How can they challenge the official story about the crisis without endangering their limited but essential operations?

There’s an old truism among aid workers: humanitarian crises don’t have humanitarian solutions. What’s needed is high-level political action.

Recognizing this as a problem that recurs in crises as diverse as Syria and Congo, three years ago the UN Security Council passed resolution 2417 on armed conflict and hunger.

As well as reiterating that the use of hunger as a weapon may constitute a war crime, the resolution, which has not been activated up to now, requires the UN Secretary General to alert the Security Council quickly whenever there is a possibility that armed conflict will lead to widespread food insecurity or famine.

The resolution could almost have been designed with the Tigray crisis in mind.

But humanitarian agencies are nervous about invoking it, because they don’t want to offend the Ethiopian government.

We can’t put reliable numbers on the hunger, sickness and death in Tigray, but we know enough to be sure that an immense tragedy is unfolding.

Seven (7) References to ‘BE WATCHING or WATCHFUL.’

Matthew 24:42; Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Matthew 25:13; Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Mark 13:35; Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.

Luke 21:36; Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man

Luke 12:37-39; Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

1 Thessalonians 5:2-4; For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (Be Watching).

John 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.

John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

Luke 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.

Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.

Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

‘Increasing Like Labor Pains.’ ‘Fearful Sights.’ ‘Perilous Times.’ ‘Men’s hearts failing with fear.’ Great Convergence of Signs.’ REDEMPTION IMMINENT.

In His Service,

Night Watchman

Paul Rolland

Night Watchman Ministries

Make Your Decision for Christ NOW!!!!!!! Time is Up!!!!!!!

Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:

The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)

A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.

. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.

. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).

C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).

. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).

. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).

. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).

. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).

. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).

. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).

. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).

. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).

True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:

 Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Romans 12:19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

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