“Erratic weather has exacerbated food insecurity in one of Indonesia’s driest regions,” including the districts of West Timor (TTS), Nusa Tengarra Timor (NTT), and North Central Timor (TTU), “leaving farmers and families hoping for the best as October’s planting season approaches,” IRIN reports. “The availability of food is a constant issue in … the mostly undeveloped eastern province where an estimated 30 percent live below the poverty line on an average income of US$280 a year” and “[m]ore than half of all children younger than five are underweight and stunted, according to the Nutrition Security and Food Security report [.pdf] on NTT in 2010,” the news service writes.
Food Security and Nutrition
“Giving vitamin A supplements to children under the age of five in developing countries could save 600,000 lives a year, researchers claim” in a paper published Thursday in the British Medical Journal, BBC News reports. “UK and Pakistani experts assessed 43 studies involving 200,000 children, and found deaths were cut by 24 percent if children were given the vitamin … And they say taking it would also cut rates of measles and diarrhea,” the news agency writes.
In this Huffington Post editorial piece, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Thomas Nides writes about “10 things you should know about the State Department and USAID” and what the department does “on behalf of the American people.”
At a meeting of the African Union (A.U.) in Ethiopia on Thursday, “African governments … pledged $46 million for the crisis in the Horn of Africa amid warnings that the emergency stretches far beyond hunger to encompass health, security and livelihood,” the Guardian reports. The amount fell short of the $50 million asked for by the aid group Africans Act 4 Africa, the newspaper adds, noting that “the African Development Bank announced a $300 million donation for long-term development in the Horn of Africa” (Tran, 8/25). Reuters reports that money is “to be spent over a four-year period, not to be used to bridge a $1.4 billion shortfall aid groups say they need for the emergency” (Malone, 8/26).
The African Union (A.U.) “held a rare fundraiser in Ethiopia Thursday in a bid to plug a $1.1 billion shortfall in aid for millions facing starvation in the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in decades,” Agence France-Presse reports. The A.U. has pledged $500,000 of an estimated $2.4 billion “required to assist the 12.4 million drought victims,” according to AFP (Vaughan, 8/25).
“[M]alnutrition, one of the leading killers of children under five in the Central American nation [of Guatemala], is receiving scant attention on the campaign trail” ahead of the country’s presidential elections scheduled for September, AlertNet reports. “Organized crime and rising drug-fuelled violence” are overshadowing many issues, according to the news service.
IRIN reports on the difficulties some people living with HIV in Kenya face in accessing food. “Partly because of a prolonged dry spell, some 3.6 million Kenyans need emergency food assistance,” and, while there is food aid available in Kenya, poor roads prevent the aid from reaching some villages, according to IRIN.
The World Food Programme and Development Seed have developed a map showing current food security situations in the Horn of Africa and featuring “operational data collected from organizations responding to the humanitarian emergency … The featured data was provided by the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) and the Food…
“Heavy monsoon rains have caused several major rivers in Bangladesh to burst their banks, displacing thousands and affecting nearly a million people in all, according to the country’s Disaster Management Bureau (DMB),” IRIN reports.
The cost of addressing the effects of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa “has soared to $2.5 billion, just to keep malnourished children alive, and the number of people requiring humanitarian aid has doubled” since “November last year, [when] it would have cost $500 million to prevent the situation from deteriorating,” Jo Khinmaung, a food security policy adviser for Tearfund, writes in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog.”