Immediate aid needed for to avert famine in Africa, Bishop tells the Lords

The Government should increase aid to the Horn of African and East Africa without delay. That was the message from the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams in his maiden speech in the House of Lords this week.

Speaking on Thursday, in a debate on the impact of the Russian blockade of Ukrainian posts on global food security, Bishop Paul told the Upper Chamber that he’d been inspired by the aspirational qualities of young people he had met in the diocese. “Their outlook is global. They see themselves as part of an interconnected and increasingly interdependent world.” He said he wanted the same opportunities for young people growing up in regions of Africa threatened with famine, exacerbated by Russian blockade of grain in the Black Sea.

According to the United Nations, over nine million children are malnourished or severely malnourished in the Horn of Africa.

Bishop Paul, who joins 25 other senior Bishops sitting in the Lords, drew on the lessons of the parable of the Good Samaritan. “This is no time to look away,” he told their Lordships. “There is no tension between charity at home and abroad.”

He pointed to evidence gathered by churches in the diocese who have direct links with schools in Uganda. “The food crisis is already causing many schools to reduce their teaching week as they simply don’t have enough food for the children in their care,” said Bishop Paul. 

“Families, in desperate need, also keep children out of school. Instead they work to help earn a little more to pay for the cost of food that has risen by nearly 14% since January. This is not only a short-term crisis of survival. It has longer term tragic consequences, undermining the capacity of a rising generation to be equipped with the education, skills and personal support they need and deserve.” 

Calling on the Government to increase bilateral aid to the region without delay, Bishop Paul concluded, “It is not too late to save lives and perhaps yet prevent a devastating famine with the unacceptable human cost that will result. And in the longer term, immediate intervention will improve the prospect and God-given potential of millions of young people in the region.

You can watch the speech here.

Skip to content