Tag Archives: Drought

Growing Food Crisis NONE Talking About


Hundreds of thousands face starvation and death in Africa in the growing crisis no one is talking about

Ian Johnston | Sunday 25 December 2016

‘As we enter 2017, over 37 million people across Africa are without food,’ warns International Development Secretary Priti Patel


During the drought that devastated the Horn of Africa in 2010 and 2011, women bound their waists with rope to deaden the pangs of hunger as they gave what little food they had to their children.

In stark contrast to such selfless acts, the international community stood back and watched until it was too late for the 260,000 people who starved to death.

Now aid workers are increasingly concerned that 2017 could see a tragedy on a similar scale with droughts – and floods – meaning some parts of southern and east Africa have not had a significant harvest for three years.

The Government is leading calls for the world to take effective action this time – just as right-wing politicians and newspapers call for David Cameron’s flagship pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on aid to be scrapped.

The Department for International Development (DfID) has already committed £362m in aid over this year and next, and is understood to be considering increasing its contribution further.

“As we enter 2017, over 37 million people across Africa are without food,” International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, said in a statement sent to the Independent. “Families face losing their homes and livelihoods as the effects of widespread drought worsen.

“That is why ‘Global Britain’ is leading the response to the escalating crisis by providing life-saving food, water and shelter.”

Warning the crisis could force many people in the region to become refugees, Ms Patel appealed to other countries to “step up to prevent people from going hungry”.

“Tackling the global challenges of our time such as drought and disease which fuel migration, insecurity and instability is the right thing to do and is firmly in Britain’s interest,” she said.

A source in the international aid community told The Independentthat there was a danger of a repeat of “the desperate conditions and extreme hunger that killed hundreds of thousands in 2010”.

“Certain population groups are now in the third year of having very limited household input,” the source said.

“They will have already sold off household assets, livestock will have died or are likely to be unhealthy and not productive.

“That’s when you start to see changes in mortality that we shouldn’t be seeing in populations.”

The source said during the previous drought “there was an issue around a slow response by the system” and efforts had been made since then to try to pick up on the warning signs sooner.

But, with the world focused on events in the Middle East, the current refugee crisis, Brexit and the US presidency, there are fears an unfolding disaster could go unnoticed once again.

The problem has been caused by a particularly severe El Niño weather system, a natural recurring effect that has been exacerbated by climate change. While the El Niño has ended, there are suggestions that the next harvest could be in trouble.

Rebecca Sutton, Oxfam’s global El Niño campaign manager, said: “The vegetation cover index in parts of the Horn of Africa area is lower now than it was at this stage in the 2010/11 drought. That indicator is looking worse now than it was then.

“With drought, it’s a slow-onset crisis. It doesn’t attract media coverage and very unpleasant pictures of people and animals in a very bad way come only once it’s way too late.

“By the time you get headline media coverage, things are extremely bad and way too many people have suffered more than they needed to.”

She praised the UK Government, saying it had “responded quite well to this crisis”, but warned that “something of this scale is more than a handful of donors can deal with”.

As part of its aid package, DfID has now given £16.9m to Unicef to help countries in southern Africa, which are approaching the “peak of the lean system”, the United Nations aid agency said in a statement.

It said this year had seen the “worst El-Niño induced drought in decades”, and the money would be used for “life-saving interventions to prevent the escalation of malnutrition and child illness or death in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe”.

Increasing numbers of children have been dropping out of school due to a lack of water or more pressing problems at home, Unicef said, while all four countries were seeing outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea.

The money will allow 456,000 children to be checked for severe, acute malnutrition and more than 65,000 to be treated for several common diseases. A further 194,000 people will get access to safe drinking water.

Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, Unicef’s regional director for eastern and southern Africa, said: “As already vulnerable children and their families enter another lean season, these funds are critical for helping them to cope with the ongoing impacts of this chronic emergency.

“We greatly appreciate – and applaud – DfID for leading the way in ensuring that communities are significantly supported to become further resilient to the recurrent climatic crises we are seeing across much of the region.”


 

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2016 Global Hunger Index: Revealed


News | World | World Politics

2016 Global Hunger Index: Revealed – The Worst Countries in the World at Feeding Their OWN People

Adam Withnall Africa Correspondent  | @adamwithnall | Monday 17 October 2016

A year after the international community set the target of eliminating hunger by 2030, 50 countries around the world are failing to provide their people with enough food.

According to the Global Hunger Index for 2016, close to half of all developing countries received “serious” or even “alarming” ratings based on levels of malnutrition, growth stunting and child mortality.

Overall, the world is getting better at addressing the issue of extreme poverty-driven hunger. But in some regions, particularly central Africa, there is still a long, long way to go to eradicating the problem.

“Simply put, countries must accelerate the pace at which they are reducing hunger or we will fail to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal [of ending global hunger by 2030], said Shenggen Fan, the director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) which has been producing the index annually for the last 11 years.

Africa accounts for six of the worst 10 countries in the ranking this year, with three – Central African Republic, Chad and Zambia – coming in the last three places.

The rest of the top 10 is completed by Haiti, Madagascar, Yemen, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, and Niger.

Among the 118 countries ranked, only two have seen their scores get worse in the years since 2008 – Sri Lanka and Jamaica.

But there are 13 other countries for which a lack of data means it wasn’t possible to calculate an index score – and they include some of the most concerning malnutrition crises in the world.

The IFPRI said that even without a complete score, partial indicators for things like child stunting, wasting and mortality were cause for concern in Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Syria.

Armed conflict is a leading cause of hunger and undernutrition in many of these countries,” said Bärbel Dieckmann, President of Welthungerhilfe, one of the organisations involved in the report. “Zero hunger will only be possible if we significantly increase political commitments to conflict resolution and prevention.”

This year, no single country scored so badly as to fall in the “extremely alarming” category – but the nationwide figures mask the fact that within some states there can be acute malnutrition crises.

Mexico, for instance, has a low level of overall hunger, but contains areas where child stunting – an indicator of malnutrition – is relatively high.

Dominic MacSorley, CEO of Concern Worldwide, called it “unacceptable, it is immoral and shameful” that there were still 795 million people “condemned to facing hunger every day of their lives”.

“Agenda 2030 provides us with the ambition and commitment to reach zero hunger,” he said. “We have the technology, knowledge and resources to achieve that vision. What is missing is both the urgency and the political will to turn commitments into action.”

“The 2030 Agenda set a clear global objective for an end to hunger – everywhere – within the next 14 years,” said David Nabarro, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change. “Too many people are hungry today. There is a need for urgent, thoughtful and innovative action to ensure that no one ever goes hungry again.”


50 Million Africans Face Hunger After Crops Fail Again


50 million Africans face hunger after crops fail again


UN fears that food aid will not arrive in time to help people of ravaged countries

Farmer Serena Gadinala stands next to her wilted crops in the Neno district of southern Malawi.
 Farmer Serena Gadinala stands next to her wilted crops in the Neno district of southern Malawi. Photograph: Tamara van Vliet/OCHA

Up to 50 million people in Africa will need food by Christmas as a crisis across the continent triggered by El Niño worsens, the UN and major international charities have warned.

A second year of deep drought in much of southern and eastern Africa has ravaged crops, disrupted water supplies and driven up food prices, leaving 31 million people needing food now, and 20 million more likely to run out this year.

A further 10 million people in Ethiopia, six million in southern Sudan and five million in Yemen were in danger of starvation after floods and drought, said the UN.

The severest El Niño in 30 years was expected to tail off in the next month as hot equatorial waters in the Pacific returned to normal temperatures, but its effects would be felt for many more months, said the World Food Programme. Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s humanitarian chief, said: “The collective impact of the El Niño phenomenon has created one of the world’s biggest disasters for millions of people, yet this crisis is receiving little attention.

“The numbers are staggering. One million children in eastern and southern Africa alone are severely acutely malnourished, and across southern Africa 32 million people need assistance and that figure is likely to increase.” The UN predicts that food will start running out on a large scale by July, with the crisis peaking between December and next April.

Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Madagascar, Angola and Swaziland have declared national emergencies or disasters, as have seven of South Africa’s nine provinces. Botswana, Kenya, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have also been badly hit.

In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has appealed for foreign aid to buy food and Malawi is expected to declare in the next few weeks that more than 8 million people, half the population, will need food aid by November. Maize prices have risen by 60% across much of the region within a few months.

Seven million people in Syria, 10 million in Ethiopia and 14 million in Yemen also needed food urgently, said the UN. Elhadj As Sy, secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, pledged $110m after visiting Malawi and Zimbabwe last week. “We cannot describe enough how dire the situation is,” he said.

Abdoulaye Balde, the World Food Programme country director in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, said: “The situation is critical. We are at the point of no return.”

Fears are mounting that international donors, meeting at this week’s UN humanitarian summit in Istanbul, will not pledge enough in time to buy and deliver food. Their fear is that the Syrian civil war and refugee crises are putting an unprecedented strain on aid. African leaders have requested more than $1.5bn, but less than 25% has been pledged.

“The window for responding in a meaningful manner is closing rapidly,” said Shadrack Omol, senior adviser to the UN’s children fund, Unicef. “The concern is that slow-onset emergencies, such as the one we are dealing with in southern Africa, do not get enough attention because they creep up on us.”

Since July 2015, Britain has contributed about £150m for aid to El Niño-affected countries in Africa, including Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya Mozambique, Somalia and Uganda. The international development minister, Nick Hurd, said: “We cannot and will not stand idly by while millions suffer. Britain is playing a leading role in helping countries across Africa to cope with the impact of El Niño. Support for people affected by El Niño is important to Africa and also firmly in Britain’s national interest.”


Vertical Farming the Answer to Hunger In Africa


Could Vertical Farming Be The Answer To Hunger In Africa?

AFRICAN TECH INDUSTRY | GOVERNMENT | SCIENCE

, JULY 6, 2016


According to the World Food Programme (WFP),  Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished. This means that new ways are required to increase food production and with technologies that now permit all year round farming, it’s still not enough to feed the over 1 billion people on the continent. The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) says  today in sub-Sahara Africa, 550 million people are still living in extreme poverty, on less than $1 a day! Of this number, 180 million are the breadwinners for the other 370 million (children, elderly & the sick). There are no jobs, so most of these motivated parents established their own micro enterprises and tiny farms. But due to low capital, they are not earning enough profits to get their families out of poverty.

Skyscraper-Farming

It’s no longer enough to just employ traditional methods of agriculture to adequately feed the hundreds of millions of people who need food. Other methods are therefore necessary and in the article from Gizmodo which you’ll see below, a state in the US is already building the biggest vertical farm in the world whose output is in excess of 907,000 Kilograms worth of vegetables a year. But first what’s vertical farming? Find out below;

A huge vertical farm—where crops are planted, grown, and harvested all with neither sun nor soil—is being built in New Jersey. When it’s finished, it will be the largest one in the world.

You can see one of the (smaller) existing factories from AeroFarm, on which the new one will be modeled, above in this video from Seeker Stories. Nothing they are doing or planning is really new—people have been growing vegetables indoors under LED lights, minus the soil, for a very long time now. Even the factory spin is nothing new. Japan’s Mirai factory has been doing something similar on a slightly smaller scale for years now. What is interesting here, though, is just how big this place is.

AeroFarm is now constructing a 70,000-square-foot farm in an old steel mill. When it’s finished, AeroFarm claims the farm will yield 2 million pounds of lettuce and other greens yearly.

But despite occasional proclamations from fans that vertical farming is the future of food, it’s so far remained pretty niche. For vertical farming to really take off, we’ll need to see several of these kinds of successful, large-scale operations able to turn out what they promise—and we’ll need to see them keep doing it on a regular basis. Until then, we’re nowhere near ready to take the fields out of farming.


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