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).
Food Security and Nutrition
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…
In a New York Times opinion piece, Robert Jensen, an associate professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Nolan Miller, a professor of finance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggest an alternate strategy for measuring hunger, called the “staple-calorie-share approach,” which “can give us a radically different view of who is hungry and who is not.”
For the first time, Guinea is including a nutrition component in its agricultural investment strategy, a move that experts “say â€¦ stems from an increasing recognition that agriculture must be harnessed to improve nutrition and health,” IRIN reports.
“[T]he problem is not just assessing the size of the current crisis” of drought and hunger in East Africa, “[i]t is also the fact that the droughts in this region have become an almost annual occurrence,” a Guardian editorial states.
Significant progress is being made toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline, but the poorest countries are not progressing as quickly and more must be done to improve health and development outcomes in those nations, according to this year’s MDG report (.pdf), VOA News reports. “Despite the global economic downturn and the food and energy crises, we are on track to meet the MDG targets for poverty-reduction,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the report on Thursday in Geneva (Schlein, 7/7).
High rates of malnutrition in the Horn of Africa, combined with violence in Somali, “are threatening ‘a human tragedy of unimaginable proportions,’ the UNHCR warned” on Wednesday, the AFP/Daily Telegraph/Vancouver Sun reports. More than 12 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda have been hit by severe drought and rising food prices, forcing thousands to leave their homes and seek assistance in already-overflowing refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, the newspaper notes (Flood, 7/7).
The NIH in a press release said it will begin work on a “new programÂ to discover, develop and distribute measures of nutritional status.” The Biomarkers of Nutrition for Development (BOND) Program “brings together experts in the field of nutrition to provide advice to researchers, clinicians, program- and policymakers, on the…
In a Guardian opinion piece, Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross, writes about ongoing hunger in East Africa and how it ideally should be addressed. “Today’s situation is so dire that in many cases emergency food aid is the only realistic option. But, while it undoubtedly saves lives, it doesn’t help build resilience, and can, in fact, destabilize local markets and lock families into dependency,” Young notes.