UNICEF on Tuesday “appeal[ed] to the air transport sector to provide free and discounted cargo space to bring emergency food supplies into the region,” the U.N. News Centre reports (8/2). UNHCR, the U.N. refugee agency, warned in its latest situation report that “[c]hild mortality rates among Somali refugees in Kenya are on the rise and there are ‘alarmingly high rates’ of malnutrition,” according to Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C (8/3).
Environment and Climate Change
Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) “have developed a fully cooked food-aid product called Instant Corn Soy Blend [ICSB] that supplements meals, particularly for young children,” a USDA news story reports (Bliss, 8/4).
A new interactive map from Oxfam “shows how poor communities across the world are being hurt by high and volatile food prices. This ‘food price pressure points map’ provides a global snapshot of the impacts of the global food price crisis,” according to the website (8/4).
“The famine gripping parts of southern Somalia has spread to three new areas of the country, with the entire south likely to be declared a famine zone within the next six weeks, the United Nations said on Wednesday,” Reuters reports (Mohamed, 8/3).
Food insecurity in the Horn of Africa “is driven by cyclical drought, poor land management practices, limited availability of animal health services, food inflation, conflict over land and water, poor hygiene practices, and lack of dietary diversity,” Paul Weisenfeld, assistant to the administrator, Bureau of Food Security at USAID, writes…
The Washington Post on Wednesday published a leadership roundtable on U.S. aid and Somalia, featuring the following five opinion pieces:
Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith arrived in Kenya on Monday to assess and raise awareness of the famine conditions in the Horn of Africa, Capital FM News reports (Kaberia, 8/8). “Biden’s trip is the highest-profile U.S. visit to drought-stricken East Africa since the numbers of refugees began dramatically increasing in June,” according to the Associated Press (Straziuso, 8/8).
The Seattle Times on Sunday examined efforts by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “to boost the levels of vitamins and minerals in crops many Africans rely on for the bulk of their diets.”
“ONE Blog” features an audio recording of a conference call the organization held on Wednesday with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran and Somali advocate Ali Ali about the famine in Somalia. During the call, Shah said his recent visit to the Dadaab refugee camp…
“Famine relief efforts in Somalia are being hampered as much by delays in procuring food aid and raising funds as by difficulties in accessing Islamist-controlled areas, according to humanitarian organizations working there,” the Guardian reports. Staff from several aid agencies working within al-Shabab-controlled areas “say the major problem in responding to the crisis is the time it is taking to buy food abroad and to transport it to the worst-hit areas,” the newspaper writes (Rice, 8/4).