Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office said the U.S. is willing to provide humanitarian aid to Somalia, where the militant group al-Shabab controls parts of the country, but “[i]n reality, her hands are tied by paperwork,” Eliza Griswold, author and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, writes in a Daily Beast opinion piece.
Food Security and Nutrition
“The first U.N. emergency airlift flight arrived in” Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on Sunday, “to assist the hundreds of thousands of Somalis who have fled the drought and famine afflicting their homeland,” ABC News reports (Hasan, 7/17). The jet, which was chartered by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), delivered 100 tons of tents meant for the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, the U.N. News Centre writes. An additional four flights are scheduled to arrive in Nairobi this week (7/17).
People who have fled the drought in Somalia to camps near the capital Mogadishu are being hit by cold, heavy rains, and at least five people have died of exposure, according to aid workers, BBC News reports.
The nations in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa “are at risk of ‘massive famine,’ Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told the Huffington Post Wednesday.” “It’s very severe,” Shah said. “We know from the data that we’ve been collecting that this is the worst drought in 60 years and itâ€™s going to have severe consequences. Eleven and a half million people are at real risk of malnutrition and famine already,” the Huffington Post reports (Hersh, 7/13).
During a Tuesday news conference with reporters in Geneva, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “called on countries to urgently support United Nations agencies in their efforts to respond to the crisis in the Horn of Africa, where more than 11 million people are in need of life-saving assistance as they face the worst drought in decades,” the U.N. News Centre reports. U.N. agencies have called for $1.6 billion in aid for the region, but only half of that amount has been received, according to the news service (7/12).
“Food price levels are at historic highs, but food price volatility, although high these past few years, is not out of line with historical experience and is generally lower than it was in the 1970s. This means that the world does not necessarily face a price volatility problem. It faces a high food price problem,” Christopher Barrett, a professor at Cornell University, and Marc Bellemare, a professor at Duke University, write in a Foreign Affairs opinion piece.
“U.N. officials sounded the alarm Tuesday about a deepening crisis in East Africa, saying they are struggling to cope with the number of people on the move in the region because of the severe drought and continued fighting in Somalia,” the Associated Press reports. “World Food Program Executive Director Josette Sheeran said the drought has left millions hungry, farmers at risk of losing their livelihoods and the lives of hundreds of thousands of children at risk,” the AP writes (7/12).
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Program and Oxfam issued a joint appeal on Friday asking the international community to provide the “political, moral and financial means” necessary to fight the severe drought affecting more than 10 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Uganda, the Associated Press reports (7/8).
USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg writes in a post on the agency’s “IMPACTblog,” “This week, USAID activated a disaster assistance response team (DART) operating out of Ethiopia and Kenya to work with the World Food Program, UNICEF, and over a dozen other organizations to coordinate emergency efforts to relieve the…
In addition to ecological influences, “[l]ong and recurrent conflicts, poor infrastructure, misguided policy options, weak market system[s] and seasonal migration patterns account [for] the ever-increasing drought problems” in the Horn of Africa, Abeje Chumo, an international law expert and editor of the Horn of Africa blog for the Foreign Policy…