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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs