The U.N. on Tuesday said approximately 3.5 million Kenyans will need food aid by September due to drought, “while European officials warned such crises would flare up again unless more money was directed at prevention efforts,” Reuters reports (Obulutsa/Migiro, 7/26). VOA News examined how “food security experts are looking for lessons from severe droughts of the past, when worst case scenarios were avoided” (Colombant, 7/26).
Environment and Climate Change
The World Food Program (WFP) has said it plans to begin food airlifts by Thursday “to parts of drought-ravaged Somalia that militants banned it from more than two years ago,” the Associated Press reports. The agency plans to send five tons of high-energy bars by air with more food to follow by land, the news agency notes (Straziuso, 7/25).
Andrew Mitchell, Britain’s international development secretary, and Kevin Rudd, Australia’s foreign minister, describe their countries’ responses to the drought and famine in East Africa in an Independent opinion piece. “The U.N. appeals are still underfunded by almost $1 billion. Britain and Australia urge the rest of the world to join them to work to prevent this humanitarian disaster turning into a catastrophe on a scale of the 1984 Ethiopian famine,” they write.
At an emergency meeting at the Rome headquarters of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday, the agency announced “there will be a donors pledging conference Wednesday in Nairobi to raise as much as $1.6 billion to help fight famine in Somalia and other drought-stricken populations in East Africa,” the Associated Press/Forbes reports (7/25). Prior to the meeting, the World Bank “announced it is providing more than $500 million to assist drought victims, in addition to $12 million in immediate assistance to help those worst hit by the crisis,” a World Bank press release states (7/25).
Two weeks after lifting a ban on certain aid groups providing assistance in Somalia, the militant Islamist group al-Shabab “has announced that the ban remains in place” and said that the U.N.’s declaration of famine in two regions of the country was being used as “propaganda,” Al Jazeera reports (7/22).
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed on Wednesday “issued an urgent appeal for international aid” for famine assistance in his country during an exclusive interview with CNN at his residence in Mogadishu. “The situation is very severe. The conditions are very harsh,” he said (7/21).
In a post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah describes the U.S. response to the drought in the Horn of Africa, as well as his visit on Wednesday to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. “Since October 2010, the U.S. Government has provided $459 million in life-saving aid to…
On Tuesday, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary for African Affairs; Reuben Brigety, principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; Ambassador Donald Steinberg, USAID deputy administrator; and USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg held a special press briefing to discuss the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of…
Early warnings about rising malnutrition, drought and possible famine in the Horn of Africa “went unheeded” for the past year, but “[w]hat is the point of an early warning system if nobody is listening?” a Globe and Mail editorial asks.
Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday, Mark Bowden, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said the U.N. had officially declared a famine in the southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia, VOA News reports (7/20).