PRAYING FOR SAT-7 VIEWERS FACING RIPPLE EFFECT OF RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR
Rising prices for staples are devastating the most vulnerable families and communities around the world, including in Egypt. To help us lift up those struggling, including our Christian brothers and sisters, SAT-7 Communications Officer Mary Joseph shares the impact she sees around her.
As the Russia-Ukraine war began, and because Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat to Egypt, our round Egyptian brown flatbread grew smaller in a matter of days. After public outrage when the price went from 50 piasters to 75 piasters for a loaf, it was reset to 50. The Egyptian authorities continued to subsidise flour for government bakeries to keep the prices the same. Because bakeries that raised prices were threatened with a fine, bakers opted to make smaller loaves instead.
Every person with a low income is allowed a card for subsidised bread with which one can purchase 20 loaves of bread per day. Even though the cost of producing one loaf of bread is 65 piasters, the Egyptian government has managed to subsidise it so that the price of production would remain at 50 piasters to be affordable for everyone.
Bread is a staple in every home in Egypt, consumed during every meal. Those with less means make pasta sandwiches and fried potato sandwiches to fill their stomachs because they could not afford to buy meat and chicken even before the price increase.
The prices of all other staples, such as rice, pasta, beans, and oil, have also increased.
Grocery prices rose to unusual levels. For example, vine leaves went up to 100 EGP a kilo but later went down to 60 and continued to decline gradually. Vine leaves are stuffed with a mixture of rice, mincemeat, and herbs and cooked as a side dish. Additionally, other vegetables saw dramatic increase in prices. Prices also vary between government outlets and private grocers and markets. Since many families purchase from their local grocers, they are left at the mercy of unofficial prices because private shops are not monitored by government officials.
Mid-April and later mid-July saw increases in the price of petrol, and with it all the prices of commodities went up because of transportation costs. Two days earlier I had tried to fill up on petrol, but the station staff claimed their electricity was out. I believed them and left, but when I returned two days later the price had increased. Food and beverages saw an increase of around 25 percent from April 2021 until April 2022.
I see through my work in SAT-7 that when people are forced to go without, or when anxiety over rising prices is everywhere, as well as nourishment for their bodies they need spiritual food more than ever. While we cannot alleviate physical hunger, my colleagues and I at SAT-7 in Egypt know what a difference it makes when a person can lean on God in times of crisis.
Please pray with us that viewers will be spiritually encouraged by SAT-7’s programs, such as You Are Not Alone, which airs weekly from Lebanon, as well as our many discipleship programs, and special teaching productions such as Hope in Times of Hardship, which began airing just as price increases caused by the conflict began to bite. Pray that those who need God will find Him there and receive comfort and peace in these difficult times.