Drought and Emerging Famine in the Horn of Africa

The Horn of Africa (including northern Kenya, southeastern Ethiopia, southern Somalia and Djibouti) is suffering from one of the worst droughts in recent history – some say the worst in 60 years.  Experts estimate that between 10 and 11 million are in need of emergency food aid.

We can blame this emerging crisis on just a bad season, or point to the real culprits:

1)   (Human-induced) climate change that has resulted in extreme weather conditions

2)   Food policies, consumption behavior, and commodities trading that have all contributed to the rise in food prices (especially of staple crops) in recent years

3)   Poor prevention and coping mechanisms in these countries, at least partially the result of a lack of resources.  Western donors are slow to act yet again.

Crisis at this scale is rare and thus is making the news, but a large segment of the population in this region is constantly living on the brink of famine.

(The Economist, July 7th)


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