2011/07/27

The makings of human tragedy in the hell on Earth

An estimated 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are believed to be facing a “humanitarian emergency” as the region grapples with its worst drought in 60 years.

Several seasons of failed rains compounded by spiralling global food prices means the drought will affect more than 12 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Somalia though, is set to be the hardest hit.

The UNHCR warned this week that “one of the world's worst humanitarian crises” is being turned into a “human tragedy of unimaginable proportions”.
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In Somalia and Ethiopia 65% of the population are pastoralists, making their living by raising livestock. The drought has seen scores of animals die of dehydration, cruelly cutting off millions of people from their only source food. If anything, this serves to remind us that the global food system is mired in abject failure. A system that allows 925 million people to go without food daily is flawed by nature.

A system that forces millions of people to leave their homes and walk for days on end to seek sustenance is not working. Emergency aid to East Africa will go a long way to feeding hundreds of thousands in the short-term, but it will not solve the crisis.

People, be they Somali, or North Korean will still go hungry – not because there is not enough food to go around. There is plenty - but there is a spectacular imbalance in the way that food is distributed. We produce far more food than we actually need.
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Al-Shabaab had banned aid agencies in 2009 believing the groups could host spies or promote an un-Islamic way of life.
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According to UNHCR, there are more and more tales of children younger than five dying of hunger and exhaustion during their journey to Dadaab. The children who do make it to the complex are in such feeble conditions when they eventually reach Kenya that they die within 24 hours despite the emergency care and therapeutic feeding they immediately receive. thedailymaverick

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