Friday, December 16, 2011

Long-term solutions for the drought-hit Horn of Africa

David Musyoka in Coast Week (Kenya) via Xinhua: One of the most defining factors for the Horn of Africa region in 2011 was the hunger and famine that affected a total of 18 million people, but efforts to seek long term solutions like weather indexed insurance and research on disease and drought resistant crops continued.

As of November, food situation in the Horn of Africa remain critical, according to the most recent global food analysis report by the United Nations agency Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Most drought-affected areas include 4.6 million people in Ethiopia, 4 million each in Somalia and the Sudan, 3.75 million in Kenya, 1.5 million in South Sudan and 180, 000 in Djibouti are in need of emergency assistance.

“Despite some improvements in the situation in Somalia due to substantial humanitarian assistance and favourable rains, food insecurity is expected to remain critical in drought-affected areas until the harvest of short-season crops in early 2012,” said FAO.

The most unique feature of hunger this year is that it was not limited to areas traditionally prone to drought. This is because extremely high prices of food have pushed many people in urban areas to poverty and others already poor into deeper poverty. According to the Early Warning Network (FEWS NET), food security outlook for the coming months depends on the amount of rainfall the region receives at least till the end of December....

NASA shot of the Horn of Africa

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