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).
Food Security and Nutrition
In his latest Foreign Policy column, Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, argues that famine is a crime. Famines “don’t happen any more in any country where leaders show the slightest interest in the wellbeing of their citizenry. … In order to ensure widespread death by starvation, a governing authority must make a conscious decision: it must actively exercise the power to take food from producers who need it or deny food assistance to victims,” he writes.
The Korean Sharing Movement, a South Korean relief group, “crossed into North Korea Tuesday with 12 trucks full of flour, marking the first food aid of its kind since a North Korean attack last year,” VOA’s “Breaking News” blog reports. The group delivered 300 tons of flour to the border city of Paju. It will feed 22,000 children, according to the Reverend In Myung-jin, who leads the group (7/26).
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).
The drought in the Horn of Africa “emphasizes the gap between our rapidly increasing ability to predict disasters, thanks largely to advances in science and technology, and our capacity to generate the political will to carry out effective mitigation strategies,” according to a SciDev.Net opinion piece by editor David Dickson.
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).
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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…