Posts tagged famine.
India has a surplus of food, yet 250 million
people Indians are dying of hunger. It’s a problem of distribution and lack of political will to fix to the system. Excellent coverage by the NYTimes on an agricultural issue that will dominate ag-press in the coming years - distribution.
“The reason we are facing this problem is our refusal to distribute the grain that we buy from farmers to the people who need it,” said Biraj Patniak, a lawyer who advises India’s Supreme Court on food issues. “The only place that this grain deserves to be is in the stomachs of the people who are hungry.”
After years of neglect, the nation’s failed food policies have now become a subject of intense debate in New Delhi, with lawmakers, advocates for the poor, economists and the news media increasingly calling for an overhaul. The populist national government is considering legislation that would pour billions of additional dollars into the system and double the number of people served to two-thirds of the population. The proposed law would also allow the poor to buy more rice and wheat at lower prices.
A Failed Food System in India, NYTimes.
Selena Gomez calls for action on the Sahel crisis
Actress, recording artist and UNICEF Ambassador Selena Gomez delivers a public service announcement about the critical needs of children in the Sahel.
For more information about her work with UNICEF and the current situation in the Sahel, please visit: http://uni.cf/IRgDBu
Ben Habib, an international politics professor at La Trobe University, is an expert on North Korea’s climate change regime. He wrote that, in recent years, natural disasters and climate impacts on North Korea are occurring at higher rates than ever before. A poor economy, political instability, and declining infrastructure are leading the nation to the brink of collapse. Adding climate change impacts to this equation apparently increases the chances of complete break down of a nation. Of the climate impacts in North Korea, Habib identified the following:
Rising Average Temperatures
Rising average temperatures are predicted to depress crop yields…The direct impact on the temperature tolerance of crops is compounded by changes to precipitation patterns, length of the growing season, the intensity and timing of extreme weather events, and increased exposure to plant pests, weeds and diseases.
Extreme Weather Events
North Korea is susceptible to torrential rain and flooding, typhoons, drought, and acute cold weather. Since 1991, large-scale flooding events have occurred in 1995, 1996, 2001-02, and 2004-07, punctuated by drought years in 1997 and 2000.
Sea Level Rise
In the longer term, sea level rise will also threaten coastal areas in North Korea, which will jeopardise the agricultural viability of land reclaimed from the sea.
Changing Precipitation Patterns
Annual precipitation on the Korean peninsula has increased…While regular flooding is not a new phenomenon on the Korean peninsula, the magnitude of flooding events appears to be worsening. The North’s water system can handle long periods of consistent steady rain, but cannot cope with bursts of heavy precipitation, which overwhelm ordinary flood defenses.
Deforestation in North Korea is being accelerated by land clearing to increase land
area under cultivation and a growth in collection of forest wood to meet energy
demand in lieu of scarce alternative sources. These denuded landscapes offer a
limited capacity to absorb water when heavy precipitation events occur, which
exacerbates flooding and leads to soil erosion of both marginal and arable land.
Korean Central News Agency reported that floods in August 2007 “left tens of
thousands of hectares of farmland inundated, buried under silt and washed away.””
For more, read, “Climate Change and the Terminal Decay of the North Korean Regime”
“The administration had been poised to announce a significant donation of food aid to North Korea this week, the first concrete accomplishment after months of behind-the-scenes diplomatic contacts between the two wartime enemies, according to sources close to the negotiations. And, an agreement by North Korea to suspend its controversial uranium enrichment program was expected to follow within days, the sources said.
Suspension of uranium enrichment by North Korea had been a key outstanding demand from both the U.S. and South Korea of the North, which has tested two atomic devices in the past five years. Recent food talks in Beijing yielded a breakthrough on uranium enrichment, the sources said.”
I don’t consider Lomborg to be a true “climate skeptic.” Indeed, I rather think his arguments are pretty damn strong. Still, the fact that Denmark pulled his funding is a political win for the climate change sheeps.
Resilience project in Kenya a celebrated success that helps kids and provides opportunities.
Insane of the day:
Over 148 million acres of farmland in Africa have been purchased by Western hedge funds in the last three years—an area larger than California. Often times in famine areas, food is being exported for profit the same time its being imported by aid organizations.
I’m glad the statedept is donating to groups; BUT they’ve/we’ve spent $459 million dollars. For what? Show us what it bought!
More than 11.5 million people — primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia — are in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa. The United States is concerned about the high malnutrition rates in the region — particularly in southern and central Somalia and the attendant Somali refugee population. A large-scale multi-donor intervention is underway to prevent the further decline of an already dire situation, but there will be no quick fix. The United States is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the region, providing approximately $459 million this fiscal year to help those in need. This funding supports humanitarian assistance to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other drought affected populations, and builds near and longer term food security. Because emergency assistance will not solve the underlying long-term problems in the region,… more »
Follow up to my previous post: Starvation returns to the Horn of Africa, extreme drought, high food prices, rape. The Economist and Al Jazeera are vigilantly covering the devastating drought in east Africa - the worst since the 1960s effecting Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Aid groups can’t get in sufficiently to provide food, water, and shelter. Refugee camps, it seems, are run by militant rebel groups.
Some rebel groups have cut deals with al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab to allow starving refugees cross borders.
The U.S. State Department has issued a strongly worded letter to al-Shabaab to allow foreign aid into Somalia. Update below
Who is to blame? An oscillation in the climate in the form of La Niña—a cooling of the surface temperature across the equatorial eastern-central Pacific, causing big changes in airflow and weather patterns—is likely to have contributed to the droughts.
But humans too play a part. “This is a preventable disaster and solutions are possible,” says Jane Cocking, Oxfam’s humanitarian director. It is no coincidence that the worst-affected areas are also the poorest in the region. Long-term investment could have made villages and towns more resilient.
Update: US Dept. of State sending food aid.
This week, USAID activated a disaster assistance response team (DART) operating out of Ethiopia and Kenya to work with the World Food Program, UNICEF, and over a dozen other organizations to coordinate emergency efforts to relieve the crisis. So far this year, the United States has provided more than $366 million to respond to the drought in the Horn of Africa, and continues to explore additional ways to assist those in need.
Read the Press release, here.