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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

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