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Drought in Africa


WHEN: SUN­DAY Feb­ru­ary 5th, 2012
1: 00 PM-​2: 00 PM EAST­ERN STAN­DARD TIME (Cal­cu­late your time zone here)

PLEASE ADD SKYPE ID: AFRICAN­VIEWS (call dur­ing the show)


HOST: Ernest Kwabena Opong (Pub­lisher of Amandla News)

Right now, in East Africa, an esti­mated 12 mil­lion peo­ple are suf­fer­ing from mal­nu­tri­tion and a lack of food, affect­ing 35 to 40 per­cent of chil­dren under age 5. As East Africa faces its worst drought in 60 years, high food prices and failed crops have left mil­lions of peo­ple at risk. The worst drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa has sparked a severe food cri­sis and high mal­nu­tri­tion rates, with parts of Kenya and Soma­lia expe­ri­enc­ing pre-​famine con­di­tions, the United Nations said. More than 10 mil­lion peo­ple are now affected in drought-​stricken areas of Dji­bouti, Ethiopia Kenya, Soma­lia and Uganda and the sit­u­a­tion is dete­ri­o­rat­ing, it said.

Lis­ten to this AV Radio episode on BlogTalk (apol­ogy for the 30 sec­onds Blog Talk ad)

“Two con­sec­u­tive poor rainy sea­sons have resulted in one of the dri­est years since 195051 in many pas­toral zones,” Elis­a­beth Byrs, spokes­woman of the UN Office for the Coor­di­na­tion of Human­i­tar­ian Affairs, told a media brief­ing. “There is no like­li­hood of improve­ment [in the sit­u­a­tion] until 2012,” she said.

A severe drought is caus­ing increas­ing hunger across the East­ern Sahel in West Africa, affect­ing 10 mil­lion peo­ple in four coun­tries, aid agen­cies warned today. In Niger, the worst-​affected coun­try, 7.1 mil­lion are hun­gry, with nearly half con­sid­ered highly food inse­cure because of the loss of live­stock and crops cou­pled with a surge in prices. In Chad, 2 mil­lion require food aid. The east­ern parts of Mali and north­ern Cameroon have also been badly affected by the failed rains, says the UN World Food Pro­gram, which described the sit­u­a­tion as crit­i­cal. The Sahel, a largely arid belt of land that stretches across Sene­gal to Sudan and sep­a­rates the Sahara desert in the north from the savan­nah regions fur­ther south, is one of the poor­est regions in the world. The WFP, which plans to assist 3.6 mil­lion peo­ple in the com­ing months, has described the human­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion in the four affected coun­tries as “crit­i­cal”, and says the hunger sea­son is expected to last at least until the next har­vest in September.

The con­ti­nent obvi­ously faces a bleak future of drought and famine, but what can be done to alle­vi­ate the accom­pa­ny­ing famine and hunger? Will affected African coun­tries con­tinue to rely on food dona­tions and aid?

In an age of tech­nol­ogy, is there noth­ing that can be done to cre­ate a green belt out of the drought-​stricken areas?

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Drought in Africa
Drought in Africa
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