Reverend David Pritchard has experienced drought and starvation.
The Yukon clergyman lived in Swaziland for 16 years.
But the current crisis in eastern Africa is the worst the continent has seen in 60 years, he said.
“We’re talking 10 to 12 million people,” said Pritchard, mentioning his diligent media monitoring of the current situation in southern Somalia, eastern Kenya and southeastern Ethiopia.
A dangerous cocktail of war, years of drought and skyrocketing food prices has led to millions of malnourished refugees and the declaration of famine by the World Health Organization, last Wednesday.
On the exact same day, a specific passage from the Bible “jumped off the page” while Pritchard was carrying out a regular visit at the Copper Ridge Seniors’ Centre.
“It was what Jesus said to his disciples,” he said. “‘Give them something to eat.’ And that got me going.”
Thanks to pressure by Pritchard, the Yukon has officially joined an international aid effort spearheaded by the Anglican Church of Canada.
A bank account has been set up at Whitehorse’s Bank of Montreal and donating is as simple as going up to the teller, telling them you’d like to donate to the “Africa Fund” and giving them your address if you wish to get a tax receipt, said Pritchard.
The effort is bolstered by Ottawa’s commitment to match every dollar donated to such registered charities from July 6 to September 16.
By the end of the official launch, more than $1,150 had already been raised, said Pritchard.
The Yukon government has also donated $25,000 to Canadian Red Cross relief efforts in the Horn of Africa.