News / Africa

Oxfam: 2013 Decisive Year for Breaking Sahel Hunger Cycle

A Zimbabwean collects her monthly rations of food aid from Rutaura Primary School in the Rushinga district of Mount Darwin, north of Harare, March 7, 2013.
A Zimbabwean collects her monthly rations of food aid from Rutaura Primary School in the Rushinga district of Mount Darwin, north of Harare, March 7, 2013.
Jennifer Lazuta
2013 will be a decisive year for breaking the cycle of hunger and building up people’s resilience, the aid agency Oxfam says.

An estimated 10 million people living in Africa’s Sahel region remain vulnerable following last year’s food crisis, which jeopardized the livelihoods of more than 18 million across nine countries and put more than one million children at risk of severe acute malnutrition.

It was the fourth such crisis in seven years.

Elise Ford, Oxfam’s humanitarian policy advisor and author of a new report that analyzes the response to the 2012 food crisis, said despite a response last year that was bigger, better and faster than ever before, major changes need to made to the current system of food crisis aid.

“I think the first thing is to have much more urgent action and recognition of the crisis," said Ford. "I think it’s really very clear how precarious the situation still is.  Ten million people are still in the situation of food insecurity. The crisis has left them indebted, they’ve lost animals, their stocks have run out, and so really this year is going to be a key transition year if people are going to be able to get back on their feet.”

Early warning systems, put in place following criticism that the response to the 2010 crisis was “too little, too late,” allowed governments and aid agencies to react more quickly in 2012.

But while more than 5 million people received food aid from the World Food Program last year, Ford said that initial disagreement over the severity of the crisis and a critical delay in receiving pledged funds meant that millions more were never reached.

This left many people unable to recover from the crisis and has made them more vulnerable to future shocks such as drought.

Mbacké Niang, who oversees Oxfam’s regional programs, said that in order to break this cycle of food insecurity, aid workers and local authorities must not only react earlier, but also address structural challenges.

Niang said there must be a clear understanding of who is most vulnerable and why before addressing the gap that exists between short-term emergency response and long-term development work.  And donors and governments should increase investment in local and national food reserves, small-scale agriculture and social protection programs to better support citizens.

Ending the divide between short and long-term aid is particularly important, said Niang, because humanitarian workers tend to have different goals and ways of working than development experts.  Niang believes what is needed is a consensus - a joint-action plan between the two groups - a system that doesn’t sacrifice long-term security for short-term relief, and vice versa.

While some steps are being taken in the right direction, Ford said aid agencies and governments must take charge of their financial pledges before it is too late.

The United Nations has estimated that $1.66 billion will be needed in 2013 to tackle food insecurity issues in the region. 

Oxfam reports that, as of April 5, only 24 percent of the U.N. appeal for aid had been funded.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bheki Moyo
April 18, 2013 11:09 AM
The reality of realization is the agricultural debacle and the collapse of the economy, resulting from land seizures, some farmers and many employees losing their lives and numerous people subsequently unemployed. These are the facts and to
deny them serves no purpose - statistics prove otherwise.
Food Aid is only a temorary quick fix. Despite any denials
honesty is the best policy to address the terrible wrongs of land seizures and put agriculture back on track to eliminate hunger.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

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 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.

VOA Blogs

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