BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- According to the World Food Program, the southern and central areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have been the hardest hit, with a total of 12.4 million people affected. […]
The Horn of Africa is experiencing one of its worst droughts in 60 years.
In Somalia, the UN declared three new regions as famine zones on Wednesday, increasing the number of such zones to five where the highest rates of malnutrition and mortality are taking place.
UN data also shows that across Somalia, nearly half of the country's population of 7.5 million are severely affected by the crisis. Among them, 3.2 million are in need of immediate, life-saving assistance.
In one refugee camp bordering Somalia and Ethiopia, hundreds of Somalis are waiting for help from the World Food Program. But the food rations are never enough for them to get by.
Somali Refugee, Nura Ale, said, "The food ration they are giving us for a month barely lasts more than two weeks long with my nine children. I'll have to find other means to sustain the family for the remaining period."
Facing the record drought, the UN and other international organizations are carrying out full-swing relief operations.
The International Red Cross has set up field hospitals at the border of Kenya and Ethiopia, providing medical assistance to children suffering from malnutrition.
John Kiogor, doctor of Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, said, "What we do here, basically, is admit them and stabilize them and we hope, and I would say these are the lucky ones, because there are many who have not been picked from their community and there are a few maybe who have even died before they arrived. Bear in mind that there are new arrivals especially who are coming from Somalia."
According to the World Food Program, for the newly arrived children under five, the malnutrition rate has reached 50 percent. This is a significantly higher level than what is usually deemed an emergency.
The drought that you may or may not have heard of in the Horn of Africa – it's difficult parsing all the droughts that spread in one of the driest regions out there – is proving to be an enduring, worsening crisis for millions of starving Africans.
Some are calling it the worst drought that eastern African has suffered through in 60 years. Livestock are dropping dead, food prices are through the roof and more than 11 million people (a number that is growing) are in need of food assistance in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The arid conditions are feeding famines in Somalia, where the United Nations says malnutrition rates have approached 50 percent in some areas, the highest rates in the world.
Tens of thousands of people have died in the past few months. East Africa right now is the world's "worst humanitarian disaster," according to the chief of the United Nations' Refugee Agency. Here's a taste of what's happening:
- 10,7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance;
- 25% of Somalia’s 7,5 million people are displaced;
- Food insecure populations: Ethiopia - 4,56 million; Somalia – 2,85 million; Kenya – 2,4 million.
But maps only say so much. To get a grasp on the human toll of the disaster, try reading this AP account of children left for dead along the roadways. There are also illustrative posts from Mercy Corps about starving cows at the markets and people wandering the desert for weeks looking for food and water.
If you're inclined to shed a few bucks for humanitarian aid, head on over to Oxfam or to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' donation page.
Politics and warfare play a big part in the famine, but as this is a weather blog, here's what is happening in the climate to account for the parched earth.
Seasonal rains began late this year, wrecking crop production. That's partially because of the existence of a strong La Niña in 2010 and 2011. It was one of the fiercest La Niiñas in the past 50 years; in December, NASA oceanographer and climatologist Bill Patzert said the "powerful little lady” was making itself felt across the earth, with droughts in Argentina and floods in Australia and Asia. The climate pattern also spun up the speed of winds over the Indian Ocean, steering moisture away from eastern Africa. Thus the drought in the Horn, and fecund vegetation in Indonesia and Australia.
Then there's the possibility that climate change is playing a malicious role in Africa. Says ABC7 senior meteorologist Bob Ryan, “Ethiopia goes through extended droughts on a regular basis. But there’s mounting evidence that there is a higher probability of extremes in drought and precipitation in a changing climate.”
The behavior of today's climate is fulfilling predictions made by early weather models built as far back as 20 years ago, says Ryan, with greater temperature increases at the poles and rapidly melting sea ice. "Whether you believe the human factor is significant or insignificant, there certainly are more and more indications that the climate is changing," he says. "And in some regions, the climate is undergoing rather rapid changes in terms of long-term atmosphere, weather and ocean environments.”
Could eastern Africa be one of those regions in a downward climate spiral? We don't know yet, but take a peek at this Terra satellite shot of the Horn yesterday. Soil as dry as a bone and vast stretches with nary a cloud in the sky.
Short URL: http://wj.la/ooYlqX
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbvcNU7pTtk&feature=related – dedicated to you, Mother Africa…
In light of this most severe famine alarm in Africa, each one of you are encouraged to play the very simple academic games on http://freerice.com/, for each correct answer you give, Free Rice will donate 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme. You may as well click on the charity sites at http://www.greatergood.org (i.e http://www.greatergood.org/donate.html, or http://www.greatergood.org/cause-hunger.html) Thank you. …
We encourage you to also visit this facebook community devoted to Joshua and Robin Berry Children’s Trust and LIKE the page: http://www.facebook.com/BerryChildren#!/BerryChildren?sk=info 1 dollar for every new LIKE the community receives will be donated to the Fund for the rehabilitation and growth of the Berry children. Thank you. ..
Peter, 9, and Aaron, 8, Berry are two brothers who survived a tragic car wreck in west Texas this July 2. Their parents, Robin and Joshua, died in this terrible accident. They were driving back home through Fort Stockton, Texas from their July 4 family holiday.. They would be buried at Beth Yeshurun cemetery. Nearly 2,000 people attended the double funeral service at the synagogue. Peter and Aaron are convalescing and being treated for spinal injuries in Houston, whereas their sister, Willa, 6 was treated at Covenant Hospital in Lubbock for a broken arm and ankle.
… Thoughts and prayers on behalf of The Silenced Truth to all deceased and surviving victims in this tragic world. …