Contradictions are popping up a lot around here lately: By now, you’ve likely heard AJWS say “U.S. food aid saves lives but it’s also causing more hunger.” We’re often uncomfortable with contradictions like these, and instead, crave clear messages that we can embrace: hunger is bad. Aid is good. Too bad things can’t be that simple.
It turns out that food aid has been a complicated topic all the way back to biblical times, when the imprisoned patriarch Joseph was charged with devising a plan for avoiding a hunger crisis in Egypt. He decided to hoard food during the “seven years of plenty” and distribute it to hungry Egyptians during the “seven years of famine”—the world’s earliest example of in-kind food aid. Read More
The ongoing famine and food crisis in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia has fallen out of the headlines. But it continues to have devastating effects on communities. The international community is still responding to the crisis, but resources are limited. Most relief efforts are focusing on the regions of Somalia where the famine has resulted in a rising death toll and a refugee crisis. Read More
There’s been considerable coverage of the East Africa famine over the past two weeks. In his NY Times op-ed last Sunday, Nick Kristof wrote about a famine-related subject that, for many people, is an afterthought: the unspeakable violence against women and girls that escalates in the face of food insecurity. Kristof writes:
“At the very moment when you think you’re secure, you encounter a nightmare broached only in whispers: an epidemic of violence and rape. As Somalis stream across the border into Kenya, at a rate of about 1,000 a day, they are frequently prey to armed bandits who rob men and rape women in the 50-mile stretch before they reach Dadaab, now the world’s largest refugee camp. It is difficult to know how many women are raped because the subject is taboo. But more than half of the newly arrived Somalis I interviewed, mostly with the help of CARE, said they had been attacked by bandits, sometimes in Somalia but very often on Kenyan soil. Some had been attacked two or three times.” Read More
There is no denying the severity of the crisis in East Africa right now. We’ve read the headlines and seen horrifying photos of starving children. The situation is getting worse every day. Two days ago, the United Nations declared a famine in three more areas of Somalia. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that nearly 30,000 children under the age of five have died because of the crisis. By September, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) predicts that the whole of Somalia and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda will be under famine conditions. Read More
Originally posted on AlertNet.
Headlines tell us that a severe drought in the Horn of Africa is responsible for creating “the most severe food security emergency in the world today.” But is it?
Images of emaciated children and desperate parents have flooded the news. More than 10 million people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are in need of assistance. Levels of malnutrition are rising rapidly. Some 1,600 Somalis are arriving daily at refugee camps in southeast Ethiopia, and thousands of Somalis are trekking by foot to the already over-crowded Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya. The crisis has invoked the specter of Ethiopia’s famine, a calamity that took the lives of nearly one million people in the mid-1980s. Scientists are debating whether this drought is a direct result of climate change or a natural progression of changes in the environment. Regardless of the causes, the effects—widespread hunger and food insecurity—are anything but natural.
Posted in Food Justice, Human Rights, In the News, Sustainable Solutions, Take Action
Tagged agriculture, drought, Ethiopia, farmers, Kenya, land, livestock, Somalia