Saturday, February 25, 2017

A new famine? Facing death’s door in East Africa and beyond | Save the Children Australia

Famine has been declared in South Sudan. Together with Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria, more than 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of starvation with these countries on the brink of famine. Kenya and Ethiopia are also facing critical food shortages. What is going on?
Donate now: Child Hunger Crisis
In Somalia, 15-month-old Abdi* (pictured) is facing death's door.
Caught in a devastating drought, over which he has no control, he is being left to starve – in a world that has more than enough food. Right now, children in East Africa are facing starvation – millions of lives are in danger.
Facing famine in East Africa…and beyond
While Abdi is receiving treatment in Somalia, there are 1.4 million other children in the region suffering the same pain, and facing starvation. The United Nations warns more than 50,000 children are facing death right now.
Famine has been declared in South Sudan, the first to be announced anywhere in the world in six years. Somalia is also on the verge of famine, while Kenya and Ethiopia are both critically affected.
Pete Walsh is Save the Children's Country Director in South Sudan. "While the threat of a famine in South Sudan has been looming for months, the worst-case scenario has now become a devastating reality. In the coming months, famine could spread to other parts of the country, where millions of vulnerable children and families now risk starving to death."
What's causing this crisis?
While the causes of this hunger crisis are varied, the devastating consequences are the same – children are right now struggling to survive and are at risk of starvation.
Widespread drought and brutal conflict has caused successive crop failures, leaving families across the region with little food or water. The number of children requiring treatment for hunger is already beyond what the modern humanitarian system has ever had to cope with at one time.
The catastrophe unfolding around baby Abdi is beyond his control. But if we act without delay, we can save his life. And countless others.
I want to help. What can I do?
You can support our Child Hunger Crisis Appeal. Everything we raise will help us get urgent support to children and families in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
We are already reaching the hardest-hit communities. Right now, our teams are on the ground delivering life-saving aid:
  • We are providing food aid and cash transfers so children can eat.
  • Our Emergency Health Units are treating children suffering from severe malnutrition.
  • We are getting clean drinking water to hard-to-reach communities.
  • We are providing technical assistance to governments to support their responses.
In 2010–11, 258,000 people lost their lives in Somalia because of drought. This cannot happen again. Act now to help prevent famine in Somalia.
Please donate today to help children in East Africa who need you most.
*Not his real name.

How you can help:

Children in East Africa are dying from severe hunger. Please give today.
Donate now: Child Hunger Crisis

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

World’s major famines of the last 100 years | The Indian Express

The Marxist policies of Mengistu Haile Mariam, which he began abandoning in 1990 with some economic reforms, left a country ravaged by economic decline, famine and regional conflicts that consumed half the state budget.

By: Reuters | London | Published:February 21, 2017 10:39 pm
famine, world famines, famine, world news (AP Photo/File/Representational)

The UN children’s agency UNICEF said on Tuesday nearly 1.4 million children were at “imminent risk” of death in famines in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Famine was formally declared on Monday in parts of South Sudan, which has been mired in civil war since 2013. People are already starving to death in all four countries, and the World Food Programme says more than 20 million lives are at risk in the next six months. The United Nations defines famine as when at least 20 percent of households in an area face extreme food shortages, acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent, and two or more people per 10,000 are dying per day.
Here are details about some of the major famines around the world in the last 100 years:
In 2011, Somalia suffered a famine that killed 260,000 people in south and central regions. The famine was declared in July, but most people had already died by May. Years of drought, that have also affected Kenya and Ethiopia, have hit harvests and conflict has made it extremely difficult for agencies to operate and access communities in the south of the country. U.N. declared Somali famine over in February 2012 following an exceptional harvest after good rains and food deliveries by aid agencies.
From 1995-1999 between 2.8 million and 3.5 million people died because of a combination of flooding and government policy in the reclusive state.
The Marxist policies of Mengistu Haile Mariam, which he began abandoning in 1990 with some economic reforms, left a country ravaged by economic decline, famine and regional conflicts that consumed half the state budget. In 1984-85, in the famine, up to one million Ethiopians starved to death. For months in 1984, Mengistu denied the devastating famine in Ethiopia’s north. Aid workers later recalled he flew in planes loaded with whisky to celebrate the anniversary of his revolution, as hunger deepened. Bob Geldof, after watching pictures of the famine, organised Live Aid in 1985 to try to alleviate the hunger. Watched by 1.5 billion people, it raised $100 million for Africa’s starving.
Up to 2 million died of famine following a decade of conflict, first during the 1970-1975 civil war, then during the brutal Khmer Rouge era until 1978 and finally in the aftermath of the Vietnamese invasion that ended Khmer Rouge rule in 1979.
Between 10 and 30 million people died as a result of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s. His plan involved modernizing agriculture and increasing grain production however officials often exaggerated the size of harvests, and in many places the entire grain harvest was seized. China’s leaders appeared to have been unaware of the severity of the famine as from 1958 until 1961, China doubled its grain exports and cut imports of food.
Up to 8 million people died as a result of Josef Stalin’s massive industrialisation programme in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s, during which the government seized grain for export. It needed the hard currency to buy industrial equipment. When people in the Ukraine reported a famine, Stalin punished them by refusing to send them food aid.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

East Africa faces fresh famine crisis | Public Finance

ast Africa faces fresh famine crisis | Public Finance: "East Africa faces fresh famine crisis By: Emma Rumney 15 Feb 17 The risk of famine and severe food insecurity in eastern Africa is being compounded by the emergence of new pests and rising food prices. Web_DroughtZambia_shutterstock_74778760.jpg   A regional emergency meeting kicked off today in Zimbabwe to decide how to deal with pests such as the fall armyworm, which is decimating much-needed staple crops like maize across southern Africa. The arrival of such pests and diseases looks set to exacerbate the impact of a severe drought in the region and spread elsewhere on the continent, while United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation warned yesterday of the impact of spiralling food prices.  This is “severely constraining food access” for swathes of households and has “alarming consequences for food insecurity”, said Mario Zappacosta, FAO senior economist and coordinator of an FAO system that monitors food supply and demand. The news comes just days after NGOs urged immediate action to be taken to prevent famine in countries like Somalia – a word not used lightly by aid agencies – with Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan and South Sudan also facing food crises. “We are undoubtedly in a crisis, but the situation will even get worse, especially if the April rains perform poorly,” said Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, the International Federation of the Red Cross’ regional director for Africa. “We need to act decisively, we need to act massively and we need to act now if we are to prevent a repeat of the awful scenes of 2011,” she said, referring to a drought in the region that saw over 260,000 people die in a famine in Somalia alone. The IFRC said that 11 million people are currently in need of urgent food assistance in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya alone. In 2011, more than 13 million were in need in those three countries and South Sudan. In the conflict-hit country today, another 2.8 million people are in need of urgent food assistance. At the same time, 18 million people are in need in war-torn Yemen and approximately 5.1 million are acutely food insecure in north eastern Nigeria. Conflict, as in the three countries above, and the super strong El Niño weather event of the past two years, which caused severe drought across numerous African nations, are the main drivers of the crisis. Somalia, where two seasons of drought led to failed harvests, left three-quarters of the country’s livestock dead and more than half of its population in acute need of food, is perhaps the worst hit. The FAO said yesterday that grain prices in some market towns in Somalia doubled in January from a year earlier, with weather forecasts predicting another poor performance in the next rainy season. Maize prices have also doubled in Arusha, Tanzania since early 2016, and are 25% higher than 12 months earlier in the country’s largest city Dar es Salaam. In South Sudan, food prices are between two and four times higher than a year earlier, and maize is up by 75% in Uganda and 30% in Kenya. The price of livestock has also risen by between 30% and 60% in the past twelve months in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. “This is the worst situation we have seen in the region since 2011,” said IFRC’s Nafo-Traoré. “We have an opportunity to prevent suffering of a similar scale, but only if we act now.”"

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Millions of people face food shortages in Ethiopia

FAO calls for immediate response to prevent catastrophe due to severe drought
29 January 2017, Addis Ababa - With as little as one-quarter of expected rainfall received, widespread drought conditions in the Horn of Africa have intensified since the failure of the October-December rains, FAO said today.
FAO estimates that over 17 million people are currently in crisis and emergency food insecurity levels in member-countries of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), namely Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, which are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Areas of greatest concern cover much of Somalia, north-east and coastal Kenya, south-east of Ethiopia as well as the Afar region still to recover from El Nino induced drought of 2015/16; and South Sudan and Darfur region of Sudan due to the protracted insecurity.
Currently, close to 12 million people across SomaliaEthiopia and Kenya are in need of food assistance, as families face limited access to food and income, together with rising debt, low cereal and seed stocks, and low milk and meat production. A pre-famine alert has been issued for Somalia and an immediate and at scale humanitarian response is highly required.
Acute food shortage and malnutrition also remains to be a major concern in many parts of South Sudan, Sudan (west Darfur) and Uganda's Karamoja region.
FAO warns that if response is not immediate and sufficient, the risks are massive and the costs high.
"The magnitude of the situation calls for scaled up action and coordination at national and regional levels. This is, above all, a livelihoods and humanitarian emergency - and the time to act is now", said FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, Maria Helena Semedo. "We cannot wait for a disaster like the famine in 2011".
Semedo was speaking on behalf of the FAO Director-General at a High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Situation in the Horn of Africa chaired by the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, on the sidelines of the 28th AU Summit (Addis-Ababa).
"The drought situation in the Region is extremely worrying, primarily in almost all of Somalia but also across Southern and South-eastern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. As a consequence, with the next rains at least eight weeks away and the next main harvest not until July, millions are at risk of food insecurity across the region", Semedo said.
For his part Guterres said: "We must express total solidarity with the people of Ethiopia on the looming drought, as a matter of justice." The UN Secretary-General called for a stronger commitment to work together.
Drought impacts livelihoods
Repeated episodes of drought have led to consecutive failed harvests, disease outbreaks, deteriorating water and pasture conditions and animal deaths.
"Insecurity and economic shocks affect the most vulnerable people", warned Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa. "The situation is rapidly deteriorating and the number of people in need of livelihood and humanitarian emergency assistance is likely to increase as the dry and lean season continue with significant negative impact on livelihoods and household assets as well as on the food security and nutrition of affected rural communities", he added.
In 2016, refugees and asylum seekers increased by over 0.5 million to 3 million compared to 2015.
Strengthening FAO's efforts to drought response
"FAO's partnership to build resilience to shocks and crises in the Horn of Africa is critical and will increase," assured Tijani.
Recently, FAO and IGAD agreed on some key steps to enhance collaboration in mitigating the severe drought currently affecting the countries in the Horn of Africa region and strengthening food security and resilience analysis.
The two organizations emphasized the importance of enhancing the role of the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), The Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) and the Resilience Analysis Unit to enhance the effectiveness of the Early warning-Early action and resilience investments.
FAO calls for joint priorities to increase and include enhanced coordination, increased and systematic engagement of member States and effective response to member States' identified needs, as well as strengthened resource mobilization efforts.