Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Food, Guns and Drought - Humanitarian crisis in Eastern Africa

Which one is important for humans? food or guns? Before answering think twice. Because for many people guns holds far better value than food.The people who are fighting against the establishment for the so called 'Liberation' of people are doing probably much more than that of UN or any aid programs to check the population growth. It is widely reported that they are very good in farming.

The only difference is that they control the population growth using graneds, rocket launchers and machine guns and cultivate narcotic plants like Poppy etc.

Africa, the home of humanity - now is on the virtue of starvation. People may not be much interested because its a usual news, and feel like any other news. After all who is interested in hearing about starvation when they have enough to eat and the time is not enough to see the latest fashion parades.

Now a days the number of kidnaps, rapes, killings, explosions are so high that people stopped to give attention to these things. It will be a surprise to us when we didn't saw a report of rape or bomb blast in the first page of newspaper.

Right now lack of rain, ElNino climate effect are forcing more and more Africans to lead a life of starvation. Instead of rice and other food grains starvation and death are roaming around the fields.

According to the recent report of UN's Food and Agriculture Organization,

"Nearly 20 million people currently depend on food assistance in the region, and this number may increase as the hunger season progresses, particularly among marginal farmers, pastoralists and low-income urban dwellers.

The effects of El Niño, which usually brings heavy rains towards the end of the year, could make matters worse, resulting in floods and mudslides, destroying crops both in the field and in stores, increasing livestock losses and damaging infrastructure and housing.Across Eastern Africa prices of maize, a major staple, have shown a declining trend since the beginning of the year, but remain higher than they were two years ago.

Forced migrations in search of water supplies and pasture have worsened livestock conditions, increased disease outbreaks and exacerbated resource-based conflicts among pastoralists."
Along with this the reproduction rate of live stocks have suffered due to the successive poor seasonal rains. The production first season crops(2009) is well below the average in Uganda. This is 4th successive poor harvest.More than one million or more people are estimated to be food insecure.

In Kenya, the Mazie crop which accounts for 80% of total production is about 28% below the normal levels. In Ethiopia 'belg' season is also well below the average. The losses are a staggering 75% in hardest hit areas.Due to this number of people who need emergency assistance is a whopping 1.3mn-6.2mn. In Eritrea the 'Kremti' season prospects too are very low.

Somalia is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in the 18 years. Approximately half of the population- 3.6 mn people - needs emergency assistance. Here the problem is not only due to drought but also due to escalating fighting and conflict.

In may places guns are becoming more important than that of food, but remember you can only fire a bullet with a but will not be able to eat it.

Sajeev.

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