Severe Drought Causes Famine In Eastern Africa

A recent article in The Economist discusses the widespread famine currently plaguing Eastern Africa as a result of severe drought in the region. The famine is concentrated in Somalia and Ethiopia, as shown in the map of the region included in the article (right), which shows the percent below normal precipitation levels of the region. The area being hit hardest, with precipitation less than 50% of its normal levels, is southern Somalia. According to surveys conducted by Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) across southern Somalia this month, malnutrition exceeds 38% in most areas. The article discusses the UN's response to the famine at the beginning of this month, suggesting it was slightly delayed considering the famine was predicted as early as November, and refers to the response of donors as "patchy." Some of the donors' hesitancy can be attributed to the Shabab, an Islamist militia in Somalia that controls much of the southern region and has banned Western aid, which it has labeled anti-Muslim. Donors may be concerned about violence against Western aid workers that has occurred in the past in the region and that food aid could be used to support the militia.

SSDAN Office

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