The Council on Foreign Relations features an interview with Laurie Garrett, a CFR senior fellow for Global Health, in which she discusses the effects of the declining dollar, the struggling global economy and the rise in food prices on food aid pledges for the drought and famine in East Africa.Â “We…
Environment and Climate Change
Despite its status as “the world’s fifth largest exporter of sugar, coffee and bananas,” Guatemala “has the highest rate of child malnutrition in Latin America,” with “half of all children under five” reportedly malnourished, Agence France-Presse reports. In a phenomenon being called “green hunger,” the failure of subsistence crops because of droughts and floods over the last few years has forced families to buy “their basic staples of corn and beans and rice from local markets,” according to the news agency, which also published an accompanying video.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who is traveling in East Africa with a U.S. delegation “to study the famine affecting the lives of over 12 million people, many of them children,” writes in the Huffington Post’s blog, “Huffpost Impact,” that the group will assess “what more we as a nation can do.”
“President Obama has approved an additional $105 million for ‘urgent humanitarian relief efforts’ in the Horn of Africa, White House press secretary Jay Carney announced in a statement Monday afternoon,” Politico’s “Politico44” blog reports (8/8). “Carney says the money will help provide food, shelter, water, and sanitation and health services to those in need,” according to the Associated Press/Washington Post (8/8). The money will come out of the Emergency Relief and Migration Assistance Fund, Carney said, adding that the U.S. has provided about $565 million in humanitarian aid so far this year, Reuters notes (8/9).
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.”
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).
“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).
“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…
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).
“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).