The following opinion pieces address the drought and famine situation in the Horn of Africa:
Food Security and Nutrition
The “crisis in southern Somalia is expected to continue to worsen through 2011, with all areas of the south slipping into famine,” according to a U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report for countries sending aid to the region, Reuters reports.
For the first time since the food crisis in the Horn of Africa began, a U.N. plane carrying 10 tons of food aid for children landed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Wednesday, “as aid groups warned of a growing influx of hungry families from the famine-hit south of the country,” Reuters reports (Sheikh, 7/27).
While the world focuses on the famine in East Africa, warnings about high child malnutrition rates in Niger appear “to have gone unnoticed by the international media,” AlertNet reports.
The June/July issue of USAID’s Frontlines focuses on climate change, including an article on how Kenyan farmers are adapting to environmental changes. The issue also includes articles on how the search for an HIV vaccine has boosted African research and on the introduction of the GeneXpert tuberculosis test in Central…
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).
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).
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.