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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid