Monday, April 14, 2014

South Sudan 3.7million facing famine crisis » peoplesworld

Over 3.7 million people in this new African nation of 11 million are at severe risk of starvation. Conditions in South Sudan now parallel those of Ethiopia in the 1980s when hundreds of thousands died from famine. Toby Lanzer, the UN official coordinating humanitarian aid in South Sudan says "we're in a race against time."
Aside from the urgent immediate need, the civil war currently raging in South Sudan, which was the initial cause of the problems, the planting season is at risk and a lack of crops will further add to the already dire situation. With possibly over 4 million displaced people what is needed is food, water, shelter and protection.
Doctors Without Borders recently criticized the UN for not responding adequately to squalid conditions at the "Juba base, Tomping, where the displaced live in a low-lying area separated by a barbed-wire fence from empty dry space within the compound."
Some 21,000 people live at the camp alone.
President Obama has issued an executive order threatening sanctions against those responsible for the ongoing violence.
South Africa's former president Thabo Mbeki pointing to an inner party crisis in the country's leadership urges political parties close to the South Sudan ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) to work toward resolving the conflict, claiming government's are unable to address the internal issues. A conflict between the country's president and vice-president sparked the current violence in December.
It is a very rough start for one of the world's youngest nations where a very large number of the displaced are children including thousands are orphans .Most of the refugees who have fled South Sudan are in Ethiopia.
Aid organizations that are helping South Sudan refugees:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ethiopia: 2.7 Million People Facing Hunger - Addis News

 ETHIOPIA  finds itself in critical need of food aid in order to feed 2.7 million people. This announcement comes not long after its leaders were upbeat, reporting a bumper harvest of231 million quintals of grain for the current fiscal year.
When donors and Ethiopian authorities met on January 24, 2014, to agree on the projection of the volume of humanitarian aid needed for 2014, the resultant crucial document – the joint Government and Humanitarian partners’ Document – showed that 2.7 million of the 91 million people in the nation, according to the latest estimate by the World Bank, are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The total food requirement is estimated at 388,635 metric tonnes (MT). This is broken down to 314,684 MT of cereals, 31,468 MT of pulses, 9,441 MT of oil and 33,042 MT of blended or supplementary food.
Ethiopia synonymous to hunger.    A map showing areas that are critically affected by hunger

Ethiopia synonymous to hunger. A map showing areas that are critically affected by hunger

Why are Ethiopians starving Again? The answer rests on its successive autocratic rulers and tribalist leaders. Ethiopia today forced hundereds of thousands of Indigenous Peoples off their fertile lands to make way for foreign investors that came in to grow foodstuffs and bio-fuels for export. Having lost their land and their ability to produce their own food, the indigenous Peoples are being forced to become dependent on aid handouts.This comes against the government’s recent announcement that agricultural productivity in the nation is projected to grow in leaps and bounds.
Despite the normal and above normal 2013 ‘meher’ rains, which further improved the food security situation in the country, humanitarian challenges will continue in 2014 in north eastern Amhara, Afar and the southern Tigray regions. These are all areas that receive inadequate seasonal rainfall. There is also a focus on other areas that could be affected by various hazards, like – floods, conflicts, crop pests and diseases, stated the report.
Water shortages persist in the drought-prone areas in northeastern Afar, South Region, southeastern Tigray and the lowlands of the southern pastoralist areas.
The nation’s 12.27 million hectares of land was covered with cereals during the year 2012/13. This was a 1.52 pc increment compared to that of the previous year. The government planned to produce 22,907,055 tons of cereal, but exceeded it by 310,555 tons. However, the amount was not able to feed the nation. In the 2013/14 fiscal year, Ethiopia is planning to exceed last year’s cereal production by 2,300,000 tons.
The alarm for the Ethiopian government is clear despite the number of beneficiaries decreasing compared to that of the previous year.
Crop production, according to the document, will most likely be affected in the major producing areas of Amhara and Tigray for the third consecutive year. This will worsen the food security situation in these areas.
But the number of beneficiaries is particularly high in Oromia and the Somali regions, which account for 27 and 25 pc, respectively. Tigray and Amhara follow close behind with 19pc and 16pc, respectively.
Oromia has 766,336 people out of its population of 31 million (according to the CSA’s estimate of 2012) in need of humanitarian assistance. In the Somali region, on the other hand, 691,978 people are projected to be in need of food assistance out of a population of five million (according to the CSA’s estimate of 2012).
The alarm for the government is going to remain intact if weather conditions do not improve, says Rahel Asfaw, a senior Resource Mobilization Expert at the Disaster Prevention Preparedness & Food Security Sectoral Office.
“It all depends on whether or not there is timely rain,” she said.
In the remote Somali Region where the meher season was rain-deficit, the number might even grow, she says.
The total food requirement for 2014 amounts to 388 million dollars. This includes 314,684 tonnes of pulses, 9,441 tonnes of oil and 33,042 tonnes of blended food.
The problem for the government is that it only has 51.6 million dollars. This total represents just 12.8pc of what is required.
While the remainder is expected from the international community, previous contribution trends show that a portion of the required amount is left to be filled by the government itself.
Last year the donors contributed only 68 pc of what was required.
“The contribution from donors may not be any different from the previous year,” says Rahel.
For another food security expert, the international community’s contribution might not even amount to 68pc. He cites priorities elsewhere in the continent and the world.

“This will worsen the situation,” he fears.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

U.N: Climate Change Effects Becoming More Severe -

CNN News Wire

(CNN) -- Your forecast for the next century: Hotter, drier and hungrier, and the chance to turn down the thermostat is slipping away.

That's the latest conclusion from the United Nations, which urged governments to address the "increasingly clear" threats posed by a warming climate before some options are closed off for good. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that taking steps to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions blamed for rising temperatures could buy more time to adjust to a warmer world.

Cutting emissions now "increases the time available for adaptation to a particular level of climate change," the report states. But it adds, "Delaying mitigation actions may reduce options for climate-resilient pathways in the future."

"In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face," Vicente Barros, the co-chaiman of the IPCC working group behind the document, said in a statement accompanying the report. "Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future."

The summary for policymakers was released Monday morning in Yokohama, Japan. It's the second part of the IPCC's benchmark assessment of climate change, a document released every six years with the input of nearly 1,000 scientists. Without checks on emissions, the impacts of climate change will be more severe, more likely, and possibly irreversible, it concludes.

Monday's report underscores "that we have committed to a certain amount of warming," said Kelly Levin, an energy and climate expert at the U.S.-based World Resources Institute.

"Over the next few decades, we are going to lock ourselves into a climate change commitment that is going to paint a very different world, depending on what we choose today," Levin said. "The choices we make today are going to affect the risks we face through the rest of the century."

As a result, "Adaptation is emerging as central area in climate change research," Levin said. But adaptation -- steps such as building sea walls, conserving water and designing cities for warmer climates -- has its limits, she said.

"The report suggests some options are going to be too resource-intensive or too expensive," she said.

An increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other emissions have driven average temperatures up by about 0.6 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) since 1950, the IPCC says. The first part of its report, released in September, concluded that even a best-case scenario would result in an increase in global average temperatures of 1.6 C; the worst-case scenario estimates a rise of 3.7 degrees Celsius (6.6 Fahrenheit).

The idea that carbon emissions are changing the Earth's climate is politically controversial, but generally accepted as fact by the overwhelming majority of scientists. And as emissions continue to rise, driving up CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, the impacts will be more severe, more likely and possibly irreversible, Monday's report states.

The summary of the full document -- which is more than 1,000 pages -- will be the premiere guide for lawmakers. It breaks down the expected impacts by continent and by categories such as marine life, agriculture and flood risks. And by diving into the specifics of the report, policymakers will be able to see what risks their specific locations face, as well as what adaptation and mitigation techniques could prove fruitful.

"The real highlight is how many impacts there are, how widespread they are and how pervasive they are around the world," said Heather McGray, who studies adaptation at WRI.

In most cases, climate change will exacerbate existing problems, such as the availability of fresh water in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors conclude that glaciers will continue to shrink "almost worldwide," affecting water supplies downstream.

Animals have begun shifting their habitats in response to a warming world, and key crops have been affected already, they wrote. Colder climates may see increases in crop yields from longer growing seasons and milder temperatures, but the negative effects are expected to outweigh the positive, the report states.

"In this report, the finding is the impacts of climate change are already widespread and consequential," McGray said.

The impacts won't be the same for everyone, and as usual, the world's poor are more likely to be hurt.

"Climate-related hazards affect poor people's lives directly through impacts on livelihoods, reductions in crop yields or destruction of homes and indirectly through, for example, increased food prices and food insecurity," the report states. Positive effects on the impoverished "are limited and often indirect."

For those people, the effects "will be catastrophic" unless emissions can be reduced, McGray said.