Horn of Africa disaster

More than half of
Africa is now in
need of urgent
food assistance.
The UN's Food
and Agriculture
(FAO) is warning
that 27 subSaharan countries
now need help.
BBC News 31st January 2006
Causes of Famine
• Many farmers say that rains have become less reliable in
recent years, which could be the result of global
• The Sahara desert is certainly expanding to the south,
making life increasingly difficult for farmers and
pastoralists in places like Niger.
• Also, rising populations have led people to farm on
increasingly marginal land, even more at risk from even
a slight decline in rainfall.
• Southern Africa has the world's highest rates of HIV/Aids
and this is a major factor in that region's food crisis.
• Some of those who should be the most productive
farmers - young men and women - are either sick or
have died, so their fields are being left untended, while
their children go hungry.
Causes of Famine
• It is particularly striking that the FAO highlights
political problems such as civil strife, refugee
movements and returnees in 15 of the 27
countries it declares in need of urgent
• By comparison drought is only cited in 12 out of
27 countries.
• The implication is clear - Africa's years of wars,
coups and civil strife are responsible for more
hunger than the natural problems that befall it.
In essence Africa's hunger is the product of a series of
interrelated factors. Africa is a vast continent, and no one
factor can be applied to any particular country.
But four issues are critical:
• Decades of underinvestment in rural areas, which have
little political clout
• Wars and political conflict, leading to refugees and
• HIV/Aids depriving families of their most productive
• Unchecked population growth
Famine in Africa
• Famine occurs when a region does not
have enough food for a long period of time.
• People who are starving can die from
• Famines are both human-made and
• Drought, or lack of rain, makes food
scarce because crops die.
Famine in Africa
• Human forces, like wars, can also cause
food shortages.
• People in a region can be without food
because its cost is too high.
• All of these factors have led to famines in
Famine in Africa
• Famines in Africa today are the result of
poor food distribution and poverty.
• There is enough food on Earth for
everyone to eat well.
• However, many people live where they
cannot grow food.
• People also live where food cannot be
easily transported.
Poverty and Famine
Poverty is at the heart of Africa's problems. This is an
overview of some of the economic challenges facing
the continent.
• Most of Sub-Saharan Africa is in the World Bank's lowest
income category of less than $765 Gross National
Income (GNI) per person per year.
• Ethiopia and Burundi are the worst off with just $90 GNI
per person.
• Even middle income countries like Gabon and Botswana
have sizeable sections of the population living in poverty.
• North Africa generally fares better than Sub-Saharan
• Here, the economies are more stable, trade and tourism
are relatively high and AIDS is less prevalent.
• Development campaigners have argued that the rules on
debt, aid and trade need reforming to help lift more
African nations out of poverty.
Poverty and Famine
The basic problem is poverty.
Most Africans live in rural areas, where many are subsistence
farmers, dependent on a good harvest to get enough food to eat.
There are hardly any irrigation systems, so people rely on the rains.
If one rainy season fails, people have very few savings - in either
food or cash - to see them through.
Even in good years, there is a "hungry season", when last year's
harvests have run out and the next crops are not yet ripe.
While people were starving in parts of Niger last year, shops in the
capital, Niamey, were full of food but many could not afford to buy it.
In both the Horn of Africa and Niger, some of the most vulnerable
were pastoralists, whose animals quickly succumbed when there
was nothing left to graze.
When the animals die, their owners have no other way of getting
enough food to eat.
Some say that the pastoralist lifestyle is no longer sustainable.
Debt and Famine
• The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative (HIPC) was set
up in 1996 to reduce the debt of the poorest countries.
• Poor countries are eligible for the scheme if they face
unsustainable debt that cannot be reduced by traditional
• They also have to agree to follow certain policies of good
governance as defined by the World Bank and the IMF.
• Once these are established the country is at "decision point"
and the amount of debt relief is established.
• Critics of the scheme say the parameters are too strict and
more countries should be eligible for HIPC debt relief.
• This map shows how much "decision point" HIPC countries
spend on repaying debts and interest.
• Fourteen African HIPC countries will have their debts totally
written off under a new plan drawn up by the G8 finance
ministers (2005).
Reliance on
Reliance on Aid and Famine
• Africa receives about a third of the total aid given by
governments around the world, according to the Organisation
for Economic
Co-operation and Development.
• Much of this has conditions attached, meaning governments
must implement certain policies to receive the aid or must
spend the money on goods and services from the donor
• The World Bank, which is reviewing its conditionality policies,
argues that aid is far more effective, and less vulnerable to
corruption, when coupled with improved governance.
• There was a sharp drop in rich countries' relative spending on
aid in the late 1990s.
• The Make Poverty History campaign urged the G8 to raise an
extra $50bn more in aid per year and to enforce earlier pledges
for developed countries to give 0.7% of their annual GDP in aid.
Famine in Africa
• Tens of millions of people across more than half
the states in sub-Saharan Africa need urgent
food aid, but the causes are often complex and
• Food crises were once primarily triggered by
natural disasters like droughts.
• But according to research by the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization, man-made causes are
increasingly to blame.
• These include conflict and poor governance, as
well as HIV/Aids.
• Rural poverty, international trade barriers,
overpopulation, deforestation, poor use of land
and environmental problems can also be factors.
Famine in Africa
• Many famines have taken place in the Horn of
• The Horn of Africa is a large peninsula in the
northeast region of the continent.
• Famines in this region include the Ethiopian
Famine of the mid-1980s, which is estimated to
have killed over a million people.
• This famine was made worse by high food prices
and overpopulation,
Famine in Africa
• On the continent, the risk of famine is
highest in Sub-Saharan Africa.
• Today, Niger, southern Sudan, Somalia,
and Zimbabwe are areas with emergency
famine status.
• Africa’s greatest humanitarian crisis is in
Darfur, in western Sudan.
• A humanitarian crisis is one in which many
human lives are at risk in a region.
Africa's Permanent Food
• More than 30 million people are going
hungry across Africa from the west, to
the horn and the south, says the UN's
World Food Programme.
• Poor rains have contributed to the
problem but the root causes are many
and complex.
Which countries are worst
• At the moment, the Horn of Africa is worst hit, especially
Somalia, north-eastern Kenyan and Ethiopia.
• Some 11 million people need food aid in the region after poor
rains, the WFP says.
• About half of these are on the brink of starvation and need
urgent help.
• In West Africa, the WFP plans to help about 10 million people.
Last year's rains and harvests were not too bad but aid
workers say that endemic poverty and conflict mean lots of
people still need help.
• Aid workers do not want to repeat the mistakes made in Niger
last year (2005), when little was done to help the hungry until
television pictures of starving children shocked the world.
• Further south, about 12 million need food aid in countries such
as Malawi and Zimbabwe, says the WFP.
4. Drought
Horn of Africa disaster
• Caused by two consecutive
poor rainy seasons begun in
• Complicated by war,
restricted access of NGOs
Horn of Africa disaster
• Ethiopia: 3.2 million
• Kenya: 3.5 million
• Somalia: 2.8 million
• Djibouti: 100,000+
Horn of Africa disaster
• Worst impact in Somalia
• 15,000 fleeing daily, every
month in 2011
• Arriving in Kenya, Ethiopia
Horn of Africa disaster
• Six camps in Ethiopia house
130,000 Somalis
• Dadaab camp in Kenya now
largest refugee camp
Horn of Africa disaster
• Food prices rising
• Grain in Kenya 30%-80%
higher than normal
• Moving out of reach of
Horn of Africa disaster
• Refugee camps
• Conflict and clashes in
• Could destabilize border
Horn of Africa disaster
• Malnutrition issue worse: 1 in
3 children malnourished
• Impact on local economy
severe: long-term effects
Horn of Africa disaster
• Size and scope and issues
lead many countries to give
up helping
• World Food Program short by
Horn of Africa disaster
• Somalia has dropped ban on
non-Muslim NGOs
• Al Shabab “welcomes nonMuslim foreign aid groups”
• Estimated population:
• Projected number
needing food aid: 1.7m
Key underlying reasons:
• Drought
• Refugees
• High food prices
• Overpopulation
• Estimated population:
• Projected number
needing food aid: 3m
Key underlying reasons:
• After-effects of 2004
drought and locusts
• Estimated population: 57.54m
• Projected number needing
food aid: 3m
Key underlying reasons:
• Conflict
• Refugees
• War, malnutrition and disease
have killed at least 3.8m
people in the Democratic
Republic of Congo in the last
seven years.
• Estimated population: 36.23m
• Projected number needing
food aid: 6.1m
Key underlying reasons:
• Conflict in western Darfur
region has displaced 2m
• South recovering from longrunning civil war
• Drought in parts
• Where farming is taking place,
it is on a very small scale with
most people cultivating with a
simple hand tool called a
• Difficult Environment:
– Deep Canyons  Isolated Villages
– Crops Depend on Erratic Rainfall
– Prolonged Drought  Famine
Nutritional problems of children in
• Ethiopia is one of the most food insecure
countries in the world having both chronic
and transitory food insecurity and frequent
attacks of famine in the recent past
– Food insecurity incorporates- low food intake ,
variable access to food, and vulnerability
• Food insecurity is mostly associated with
drought, poor land management practices,
diseases, attack by pests, destruction of
crops by flood, etc..
Current estimated food security conditions: January
to March 2009
Source: FEWS NET and WFP Ethiopia
Nutritional problems ….
• Nutritional problems continue to
be the leading cause of morbidity
and mortality in children
• Manifest by
– Protein Energy Malnutrition ( PEM)
– Micronutrient malnutrition
• Vitamin A deficiency ( VAD )
• Iodine Deficiency disorders (IDDS)
• Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA)
Nutritional problems ….
• The plight usually starts during
intrauterine life with maternal
(during and prior to pregnancy)
• Continues to childhood with the
same condition
(Feeding, Health Care,
Trends in malnutrition in under-fives in Ethiopia, 1982-2000
( Zewuditu et al ,2001)
Nutritional Status of Children Under Age 5,
2000 and 2005
Source: Ethiopia DHS, 2005
Nutritional status of children under five years of age
Source: Ethiopia DHS,
Stunting at Age 2- critical period
(EDHS - 2005)
Source: Ethiopia DHS, 2005.
«Hidden» death due to malnutrition in
80% of the death due to malnutrition is contributed
for by Mild and Moderate Malnutrition
Mild &
Only 1 in 5 malnutrition-related deaths
is due to severe malnutrition
Malnutrition and intellectual development
Learning ability
School performance
Retention rates
What do you do to
help yourself when
your parents are
dead from war,
famine or AIDS?