- Tropical Cyclone Sagar - May 2018
- Horn of Africa Crisis: 2011-2012
- Influenza A (H1N1) Pandemic - Apr 2009
- Djibouti: Floods - Apr 2004
- Djibouti: Toxic Pollution - Mar 2002
- Djibouti: Drought - Aug 1999
- Djibouti: Drought - Jul 1996
- Djibouti: Floods - Nov 1994
- Djibouti: Floods - Apr 1989
- Djibouti: Drought - Feb 1988
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Oxfam and Save the Children yesterday published a report – titled A Dangerous Delay – on the food crisis in east Africa. It says that thousands of needless deaths occurred and millions of extra pounds were spent because the international community failed to take decisive action on early warnings of a hunger crisis in east Africa.
The importance of preparing for disasters
The humanitarian aid that was provided saved many lives, but we agree that taking action earlier would have saved even more.
By Sarah Oughton
A report on the east Africa food crisis, recently published by the Red Cross, looks at the roots of the issue and proposes ways to avert future drought crises.
It says: “The answer lies not in emergency aid but in support for food security.”
Every night 925 million people go to bed hungry. And sometimes it gets so bad the media throws a spotlight on the crisis, such as the current situation in east Africa.
Seeing as aid agencies have been sounding the alarm about east Africa since last November, it begs the question: why wasn’t more done to avert the current crisis?
At Dispatches from Disaster Zones, an event hosted by the Red Cross at the Commonwealth Club on 30 September, this was the hot topic of debate between aid agencies and journalists.
1) What is famine?
The UN declared on 20 July that parts of south central Somalia are suffering from famine. When the UN makes this declaration, it means there are very extreme problems that are defined as:
With more than ten million people in the Horn of Africa facing severe drought, the British Red Cross has launched the East Africa Food Crisis Appeal.
Very poor rainfall in the Horn of Africa (including Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Uganda) has led to the driest period in 60 years for some areas, leading to crop failures and deaths of livestock.
High and increasing staple food prices (30-80 per cent higher than the five-year average in parts of Kenya) and regional conflict are combining with the weather to make a bad situation even worse.
Lack of food
East Africa has always been a drought-prone region, but 25 years on from the famine in Ethiopia, which made the world sit up and take notice, the situation is again deteriorating.
This year, countries severely affected by drought and increased food prices include Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti. More than 23 million people are facing a major food crisis with significant threat to lives and livelihoods.
One reason the situation hasn't improved is because climate change means weather-related disasters are happening with increasing frequency and intensity.
Millions of people in Kenya and the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, are facing an exceptional humanitarian crisis that requires urgent food assistance.
The combined effect of high worldwide food prices and a crippling drought is seriously jeopardising the lives, livelihoods, and dignity of up to 20 million people in both rural and urban communities.
The affected populations are those who already live on the margins of survival due to conflict, displacement and chronic poverty.