News / Africa

Horn Humanitarian Crisis Not Fault of Drought Alone

An internally displaced Somali girl carries her sibling as they wait to collect food relief from the World Food Program (WFP) in Mogadishu August 7, 2011.
An internally displaced Somali girl carries her sibling as they wait to collect food relief from the World Food Program (WFP) in Mogadishu August 7, 2011.
Joe DeCapua

As the drought continues in the Horn of Africa, the annual World Water Week (8/21-27) is about to begin. The event, sponsored by the Stockholm International Water Institute, examines the world’s major water issues.

No stranger to drought

“I don’t think the current crisis that we are experiencing in the Horn of Africa is directly related with drought, or at least drought is not the main cause of the problem,” said Dr. Ana Cascao, program manager at the institute, who’s been studying Africa’s water concerns.

Droughts have been occurring more frequently in the Horn of Africa. In January, weather experts warned of a severe drought. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted severe problems in the Horn.

“This is a region that is a drought-prone region. If we want to talk specifically about Somalia, most of the country is dry lands or semi-arid area. So droughts are very frequent, almost every year. But, let’s say, every decade there is a big one,” she said.

Underlying problems & solutions

Cascao blames the crisis on structural problems and politics. She said people have been able to cope in past years, but not this year.

“We have to ask: why is that? So, one is, of course, in the case of Somalia itself, a lack of central state. So this idea that there is no central state that is able to provide aid or to find solutions for the problems, but also a lack of civil society. Another thing is also a lack of emergency measures,” she said.

Ethiopia, Kenya and parts of Uganda have also been hit by drought, but Cascao said, “They are able to cope because there had been already some responses or taking into account the early warning systems that had been alerting for the drought since November. These countries have been able to find solutions.”

Those solutions include bringing food from areas not affected by drought to areas that are and the effective use of international aid. “In Somalia, we are not experiencing that,” she said.

Cascao said Somaliland is probably having a worse drought than Somalia, but is better able to cope because it has a functioning government. Somalia has been without a strong government since the 1990s.

“Drought is not a new phenomenon in the region. The rainfall levels have been always low,” she said, adding, ”How do we respond to that in advance?”

She recommended social safety nets, microfinance of agriculture, livestock management and political solutions.

“Technical solutions are not enough,” she said, “One needs more than that…. One knows that the solution for Somalia is not going to be easy. So there is the need of the involvement of the region and the international community.”

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More