Posts Tagged ‘Somalia’


Six Months Later, Situation in Somalia “Still Desperate”

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By Leah Baines 

Six months after famine struck the Horn of Africa, leaving 12 million people at risk of starvation, the situation in Somalia is still dire. Although the designation of famine in some areas of the country has been lifted, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a collaboration of 14 leading U.K. aid agencies, says that there are four million people still in urgent need of aid in a drought that has already killed tens of thousands.

Women wait for food rations at Bondere Camp for Internally Displaced People in Mogadishu. (Photo credit: Brendan Paddy, Disasters Emergency Committee)

The famine designation has been lifted in the Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions in southern Somalia, but rates of malnutrition and death remain extremely high. Throughout the rest of the country, millions of people continue to suffer despite £75 million (approximately USD $115 million) in aid money raised recently by the DEC. Many have been forced to abandon their homes, and flee to refugee camps.

Islamic Relief, one of the DEC’s member charities is calling for “more international aid and an increased diplomatic effort,” so that those displaced and affected by the famine can receive the food supplies and medical attention they need and finally begin to rebuild their lives.



The Continuing Famine in the Horn of Africa

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Check out this recent article in The New York Times, written by Samuel Loewenberg, a Nieman Foundation global health reporting fellow at Harvard University.

This year’s drought followed two failed rainy seasons, leaving farmers and herders fragile. (Photo credit: Reuters)

According to Lowenberg, “American attention to the hunger crisis has focused on the dire conditions of Somalis, but they account for just about a third of the 13 million people affected. According to the United Nations, hunger afflicts 4.5 million people in Ethiopia and 3.75 million people in Kenya, which has about half of Ethiopia’s population. An estimated half a million Kenyan children and pregnant or breast-feeding women suffer acute malnutrition.”

To see how you can end this cycle of hunger, please visit:  UNICEFCARE, or World Food Programme.

To read more about the famine affecting the Horn of Africa see: Early Warnings not enough, UN call for urgent aid, Somalia’s agony tests limits of aid, and Where is there a famine? 

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


Where is there a famine?

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By Bryan Dorval

East Africa is currently experiencing the worst drought in the last sixty years which has caused famine and starvation in Somalia, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the media. According to the UN’s office of coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA), the current crisis has affected 10 million people , led to 640 thousand malnourished children, killed nearly 29 thousand and placed half a million others at risk.

The drought is destroying families’ crops and livestock forcing them off their lands. (Photo credit: Swiss Coalition of Development Organization)

Nearly three decades ago a drought and famine affected nearly 8 million people in Ethiopia. The crisis was widely covered by major news networks leading to massive support from the public including musicians who would put on one of the largest rock concerts ever held, LIVE AID .

The current famine in Somalia has received a paltry 0.2 percent of news coverage this year which many relief foundations blame for the lack of support here in the United States. According to Caryl Stern, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. fund for UNICEF, “The overwhelming problem is that the American public is not seeing and feeling the urgency of this crisis”.

To put the lack of funding in perspective, around $24 million has been donated to 20 of the top U.S. humanitarian groups working on the crisis to date.  In comparison, $228 million was collected for Haiti in the first five days after the 2010 earthquake, and $100 million in donations was collected seven days after the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.



Can multi-media help reduce hunger?

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As the famine in the Horn of Africa continues to worsen, organizations in the United States are raising awareness about the issue in creative ways.

Image Credit: Art Works Project

On Tuesday, November 8, the Art Works Projects, in conjunction with George Washington University (GWU), will present the premiere of a multi-media sound and photographic projection installation created to focus attention on the current humanitarian crisis in eastern Africa and to create opportunities for dialogue around the prevention of future famine.

The presentation will be preceded by a panel discussion featuring the co-founder of the ENOUGH Project, John Prendergast and GWU Elliot School of International AffairsAmbassador David Shinn.

Click here for more event details.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


Somalia’s Agony Tests Limits of Aid

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In this article recently published in The New York Times, East Africa correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman describes the horrific realities that many people are facing in famine-stricken Somalia.

People in Somalia are suffering from hunger as the number of people dying from the famine continue to rise. (Photo credit: Roberto Schmidt, Agence France Presse)

According to the article, tens of thousands of people have already died in the country, and as many as 750,000 could soon starve to death, the equivalent of the entire populations of Miami and Pittsburgh.

Please visit the following organizations’ websites to see how you can help stop the famine in Somalia: Unicef, American Refugee Committee, the World Food Programme, and CARE.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


Feeding Future Generations: interview and panel discuss solutions to global hunger

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By Isaac Hopkins

The Atlantic hosted an interview and panel discussion called “Feeding Future Generations,” which explored a wide-ranging set of solutions to the question “how do we sustainably continue to feed a growing global population?” The event was underwritten by the Beef Checkoff program and moderated by Corby Kummer, senior editor for The Atlantic.


Feeding Future Generations featured a panel of experts who discussed many approaches to easing world hunger. (Photo Credit: The Atlantic Monthly Group)

Dan Glickman co-chair of Agree, and former Secretary of the US Department of Agriculture, said that it’s up to Congress to “hurt the least fortunate people the least.” Panelist Tony Hall, director of The Alliance to End Hunger, former Representative of Ohio and US Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), like Glickman, spoke about the responsibilities of governments, researchers, and farmers to ease our global food crisis. Hall pointed out that “we spend only one half of one percent of our budget on international aid,” but as Congress looks for programs to trim, both men anticipate cuts to humanitarian aid and development investment.

According to Glickman, some of the problems Americans face stem from out-dated agricultural policies, where “the way we subsidize agriculture is not necessarily compatible with what we tell people to eat.” Suzy Friedman, Deputy Director of Working Lands at the Environmental Defense Fund, stressed that our food system policies need to reflect changing technology and goals, and should be based on data-oriented research.



Agricultural Development Key to Ending Hunger in Africa

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In this interview with Roger Thurow, senior fellow at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, he discusses the need for effective agricultural development for smallholder farmers in Africa as an important step in eradicating hunger in the region.

Name: Roger Thurow

Affiliation: Senior Fellow for global agriculture and food policy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Location: Chicago, IL

Bio: Roger Thurow joined The Chicago Council on Global Affairs as senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy in January 2010 after three decades at The Wall Street Journal.  He is the editor and principal contributor to the Council’s Global Food for Thought blog, part of the Global Agricultural Development Initiative. For 20 years, he served as a foreign correspondent, based in Europe and Africa.  His coverage of global affairs spanned the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela, the end of apartheid, the wars in the former Yugoslavia and the humanitarian crises of the first decade of this century – along with 10 Olympic Games.  In 2003, he and Journal colleague Scott Kilman wrote a series of stories on famine in Africa that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting.  Their reporting on humanitarian and development issues was also honored by the United Nations.  Thurow and Kilman are authors of the recent book ENOUGH: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty.  In 2009, they were awarded Action Against Hunger’s Humanitarian Award.

Photo credit: Luther College

The Horn of Africa is currently experiencing a devastating famine. What factors contributed to this famine, and what needs to be done both in the short term and long term to help those that are suffering? 

Conflict and drought have precipitated this famine.  The long-running conflict and turmoil in Somalia has crippled agriculture activity, disrupted markets and displaced many, many people.  This has spread hunger across a wide area of the country, forcing refugees to flee into neighboring countries.  Add to this a devastating drought throughout the Horn and famine was sure to follow.

Emergency food aid has been pouring into the region, which is necessary to feed the swelling ranks of the hungry and save countless lives.  But we also need to display similar urgency in addressing the desperate need for agricultural development.  This isn’t an either/or proposition.  We must do both emergency food aid AND agriculture development.  Emergency food aid won’t prevent the next crisis; only agricultural development can.



Famine is Obscene

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Check out this new video from the ONE campaign that is urging people to sign a petition to Congress to put a stop to the famine in Somalia.

The famine in Somalia has killed 30,000 children in 3 months and is only expected to get worse if no action is taken. To find out how you can help end the cycle of hunger, click here.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


UN warns of 750,000 deaths in drought-affected Horn of Africa

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The United Nations Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) has warned as many as 750,000 people could die in the coming months as the drought affecting the Horn of Africa continues to worsen. East Africa is suffering its worst drought in 60 years – according to the UN, tens of thousands of people have already died.

The UN warns that up to 750,000 people could die in East Africa if the right measures are not taken. (Photo credit: OCHA, Fews Net)

The UN is urging nations to take action and provide food aid to the 12 million people in the region who are suffering.

Click here to read more about the drought in the Horn of Africa and here to see how you can help.

To read more about the drought in the Horn of Africa, see: Climate Conversations – Small seed packets, big policies tackle Horn of Africa droughtUN Calls for Urgent Aid as southern Somalia Suffers Famine, and Early warnings not enough to stop famine in Somalia.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


Climate Conversations – Small seed packets, big policies tackle Horn of Africa drought

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By Alina Paul-Bossuet

Alina Paul-Bossuet is a communications specialist for ICRISAT. This article was originally posted on AlertNet.

The Horn of Africa is facing its worst drought in 60 years destroying crops, killing livestock and causing hunger and famine across parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda.

A drought-hit farmer in Malawi stands near his lost maize crop, while the pigeon peas he planted flourish in the background. (Photo credit: ICRISAT)

Governments and humanitarian organizations are responding to the crisis, distributing food as well as agricultural inputs such as seeds.

Given that drought regularly strikes this region – and researchers say climate change will bring more extreme weather – we need to use the current emergency operations to support longer term agricultural recovery and development. In the coming weeks, we must involve the affected farmers and the existing local economy (such as the village shopkeepers, mostly agro-dealers selling seeds) wherever possible to find durable solutions to make communities more resilient when the next drought comes.

This concept is not new. Back in 2000, a UN task force on food security in the Horn of Africa highlighted the need for farmers to adopt drought-tolerant crop varieties. The challenge is to get these seeds to farmers and encourage them to grow these crops on a large scale.