18 July, 2011

Tears for Africa

On a scale not seen on the continent in nearly 60 years, famine is once again stalking Africa. Caused mainly by the severest droughts in years; and also by the effects of climate change, floods, mismanagement of land and food supplies, political instability, and regional conflicts. Nearly 11 million people are now affected and starving, mainly in Somalia; and also in: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and even in Uganda - the land of plenty.
BLOATED bellies with stick arms and legs; huge eyes staring out of skeletal heads; gaunt mothers trying to suckle babies on withered breasts. The world thought it might never see such scenes again. Famine in Africa, absent for many years, appeared to have gone the way of diseases for which we now have cures or vaccines.

Yet, after the worst drought in 60 years, more than 10m people in the Horn of Africa need emergency food aid. Livestock have been annihilated. Hundreds of thousands of people are streaming into refugee camps in search of help. Malnutrition rates in some areas are five times more severe than the threshold aid agencies use to define a crisis. Many children are already dying of starvation. The Economist
Of all places, why does this have to happen repeatedly in Africa? None is to blame most for this very painful and distressing situation on the continent like its leaders; leaders who are very short-sighted, corrupt and who have grossly mismanaged African countries' political and economical systems. Since independence, agricultural output, in most African countries, per capita remained stagnant, and in many places declined. When most African countries became independent from colonialism, fifty years ago, the continent was more than self sufficient in food; while south Asian countries were begging for food. Now south Asia, even China with its billion plus inhabitants - exports vast quantities of food. With its immense resources and good governance, Africa should be a net exporter of food and other agricultural produce; not - beggars. Not - starving.

+ Africa and Genetically Modified Food
+ Oxfam
+ Facts About Hunger and Poverty
+ Postcards of Hope and Success from Africa

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