“The prices of grain and milk in the drought-hit Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have risen to record highs, exacerbating hardship for the estimated 12.4 million people in the region who are facing severe food shortages and famine in some parts of Somalia,” according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s August food price monitor, the U.N. News Centre reports (8/10).
Environment and Climate Change
The August 8 visit of a U.S. delegation to the drought-stricken Horn of Africa “was important in terms of shedding light on the important efforts that are under way and the importance of continued support from the international community,” Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Eric Schwartz said on Tuesday during a briefing on the trip, IIP Digital reports (Babb, 8/9).
The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that 1.5 to 2 million more people in Afghanistan likely will be pushed into food insecurity later this year because of ongoing drought in the northern, northeastern and western parts of the country, IRIN reports. Seven million people in the country already are facing food shortages, according to the article.
The WHO “has launched a web-based information system it hopes will help prevent millions of people from suffering various forms of malnutrition, ranging from undernutrition to obesity, every year,” IRIN reports.
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…
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).