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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid