DSC07594Dear friends,

Greetings from Johannesburg, South Africa.  We have just returned from 2 months in the US on Home Assignment. It was a fruitful time visiting sponsoring congregations and the opportunity to attend the Summer Missionary Conference in Chicago and see family and friends.

July is midwinter in Southern Africa.  It is the dry season but following the failure of two consecutive rainy seasons the current El Niño-induced drought is the worst in 35 years. The severe drought conditions have already taken a serious toll on lives, livestock and livelihoods and the situation could deteriorate further if urgent assistance is not provided.

The devastating drought has affected an estimated 40 million people across region. More than 23 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

On July 26, 2016 the Southern African Development Community (SADC) declared a Regional Disaster and launched a Regional Appeal for Humanitarian and Recovery Support amounting to US$2.4 billion.

The Appeal is a formal request to the international community to provide assistance to affected member states. Five member states, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have already declared national drought emergencies. The Republic of South Africa has declared a drought emergency in 8 of the country’s 9 provinces. Mozambique has declared a 90-day institutional red alert for some southern and central areas. (Responding to the Appeal, the United States has pledged US $300 million, while the United Kingdom and the European Union pledged £72 million Pounds, and €60 million respectively, towards humanitarian assistance.)


Already in May last year the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi led by Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe sent an emergency appeal to the ELCA for support to enable the Evangelical Lutheran Development Service (ELDS) to deliver assistance and support to 22,000 people (4,000 households) in Phalombe and Chikwawa districts with the focus on drought recovery and capacity building activities. ELCA Global Mission was able to send US$50,000 in response to this urgent request.

See the recent related article in the Huffington Post written by Ryan P. Cumming Program Director for Hunger Education in the ELCA World Hunger office. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ryan-p-cumming/end-hunger-the-single-mos_b_11136672.html

Thank you for your participation in God’s mission locally and globally.  Thank you for your continuing prayers and support through the ELCA World Hunger and ELCA Global Church sponsorship programs.

Yours faithfully,

Philip Knutson

ELCA Global Mission

Regional Representative – Southern Africa


July 29, 2016