Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Novel Response to the World’s Worst Famine: War. - Global Spin - TIME.com

Drought and famine refugees sit in an overflow area of the Banadir hospital on August 20, 2011 in Mogadishu, Somalia. (John Moore / Getty Images)

In September, Somalis kidnappers kill a British tourist and his wife; later they kidnap a disabled French tourist, who subsequently dies; then in October they abduct two Spanish aid workers. In reply Kenya, whose economy depends heavily on tourism, sends hundreds of troops into southern Somalia in pursuit of an al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabab, which it blames for the incursions. Al-Shabab denies involvement but warns of retaliatory attacks in Nairobi, a warning to take seriously since al-Shabab's killing of 76 people in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in July 2010. The U.S. embassy in Nairobi warns against gathering in places favored by Westerners, and sure enough overnight Sunday to Monday, around 3am, a grenade is thrown into a Nairobi nightclub, injuring 12 people.

In Somalia itself, the Kenyan army claims significant advances, though in truth it has yet to meet concerted resistance and, at times, becomes bogged down in mud. Further north in Mogadishu, al-Shabab displays what it says are the bodies of 70 Burundian soldiers from an African Union force protecting the official government in the capital. (The A.U. admits to losing 10 men.) The U.S. says Kenya's invasion initially took it by surprise but quickly backs it, seeing it as a chance to re-double its own long-running missile and drone campaign against al-Shabab. The six-nation East African regional grouping, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), also supports Kenya. In particular Ethiopia, which invaded Somalia in 2006 and stayed to fight al-Shabab and its allies in a bloody two-year occupation, says it may join in on the ground. Ethiopia's deputy prime minister and foreign minister Hailemariam Dessalegn declares: "The long term goal is to eradicate al-Shabab from Somalia. This is the proper time. The process shows al-Shabab is coming to an end."

Such is the anatomy of the start of Africa's latest war. What's missing? Some analysis and debate, perhaps. Many commentators predict Kenya's initiative will fail. (See here, here and here.) Kenyan nationalists, on the other hand, furiously defend the incursion. (Particularly in the comment section of a blog I write for TIME, here.)

But something's still absent. See if you can remember what it is. What's the other thing happening in Somalia right now? Here's a hint: it's already killed many more people than war ever will.

More than three million people in southern Somalia are currently enduring the world's worst famine for several decades. Our extraordinary ability to forget that catastrophe amid the excitement of conflict is more confirmation of the lackluster response the disaster has elicited. As of Oct. 24, three months after the U.N. declared a famine, the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) says the relief effort is still $626 million short of the $2.421 billion it says it needs. Tens of thousands of Somalis have already died. As long ago as early September, the U.N. warned the grand total may end up being three quarters of a million.

What's worse, the new fighting can only exacerbate the famine. Many aid agencies consider the dangers of operating in a war zone unacceptable. In addition, those doing the fighting in southern Somalia have a history of blocking aid. Why is it that although all East Africa is currently facing the worst drought for 60 years, it's only in southern Somalia that crisis has become disaster?Because while emergency aid operations have improved dramatically in the last few decades, to the point where 9 million of the 12.4 million East Africans in need of assistance are being reached, most aid groups simply aren't allowed into southern Somalia. From one side, they are blocked by al-Shabab, whose more nihilistic members reject any Western assistance. From the other, they face similar obstacles from the U.S.-backed official Somali Transitional Federal Government, whose members have told TIME they want to starve al-Shabab into submission. The U.S., the world's biggest aid donor, has also played its part. Until August Washington withheld all American aid from southern Somalia out of concerns that al-Shabab was sustaining itself by stealing it, either to feed itself or to sell. Realizing that was helping create a famine, the U.S. relaxed some of its restrictions in August - but too late, say aid groups, to save hundreds of thousands.

The manner in which a new war is now obscuring southern Somalia's famine is a breath-taking demonstration - if any more proof were needed - of how our political and strategic concerns outweigh our humanitarian ones. In Somalia's case, collateral damage has escalated to collateral catastrophe. You can still find occasional warnings about how Somalis are dying at record rates. The extraordinary thing is how hard you'll have to look.



Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/10/24/a-novel-response-to-the-worlds-worst-famine-war/#ixzz1c2S6YT8g

Monday, October 17, 2011

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Ethiopian famine and WFP News Release

WFP News Release 11 October 2011UNITED STATES DONATES RECORD US$56 MILLION TO RAMP UP HIV NUTRITION ACTIVITIES IN ETHIOPIAROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a US$56 million donation from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that will dramatically increase resources for programmes in Ethiopia providing vital nutrition assistance to people living with HIV (PLHIV). This donation, the largest ever from PEPFAR, will offer a critical boost to WFP’s HIV and AIDS activities in Ethiopia.―Providing the right nutritional support for HIV patients can make the difference between life and death,‖ said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, ―Because when malnourished patients don’t have the right food to eat, treatment doesn’t work. This generous donation from PEPFAR will allow WFP to reach more people, improving the productive lives of those with HIV, helping to prevent its transference to infants, and helping families and communities with sustainable food security.‖With PEPFAR’s generous contribution, in addition to the areas previously covered, WFP will work in Ethiopia’s least developed regions—Afar, Benishangul Gumuz, Somali and Gambella—to improve the nutritional status, treatment success and quality of life of PLHIV.It will enhance their food and economic security, support children vulnerable to HIV andcontribute to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.WFP’s current HIV and AIDS activities support treatment in urban areas throughout the country, including assessments, counselling and food assistance for those who are malnourished. They take a sustainable approach, which also emphasizes social safety nets and economic activities for affected households. From 2008 to 2010, these activities reached 355,000 people affected by HIV and AIDS in 23 towns. PEPFAR’s donation will allow WFP to reach, nationwide, an additional 375,000 vulnerable people over five years. page 2Food and nutrition assistance is an essential and cost-effective means of enhancing the success of antiretroviral treatment (ART), enabling nutritional recovery and mitigating the socio-economic consequences of HIV and tuberculosis (TB). Furthermore, this type of assistance increases the likelihood that patients will adhere to treatment, thereby reducing the likelihood that additional, more costly treatments will need to be found.―We’ve seen that HIV patients who are malnourished when they start their treatment are much more likely to die than well-nourished patients,‖ said Martin Bloem, WFP’s chief of PoNutrition and HIV/AIDS Policy. ―By collaborating with PEPFAR, we can ensure thatbeneficiaries in Ethiopia are in a good position to return to healthy, productive lives.‖In 2010, WFP supported 2.5 million beneficiaries in 47 countries through its HIV and TB programmes, including food and nutritional support to some 500,000 PLHIV as part of their ART or TB treatment. By providing the right foods at the right time, WFP strives to maximize the success of its investments in individuals and communities.# # #WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on WFP.org. For more details see: http://www.wfp.org/rss

WFP News Release 11 October 2011UNITED STATES DONATES RECORD US$56 MILLION TO RAMP UP HIV NUTRITION ACTIVITIES IN ETHIOPIAROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a US$56 million donation from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that will dramatically increase resources for programmes in Ethiopia providing vital nutrition assistance to people living with HIV (PLHIV). This donation, the largest ever from PEPFAR, will offer a critical boost to WFP’s HIV and AIDS activities in Ethiopia.―Providing the right nutritional support for HIV patients can make the difference between life and death,‖ said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, ―Because when malnourished patients don’t have the right food to eat, treatment doesn’t work. This generous donation from PEPFAR will allow WFP to reach more people, improving the productive lives of those with HIV, helping to prevent its transference to infants, and helping families and communities with sustainable food security.‖With PEPFAR’s generous contribution, in addition to the areas previously covered, WFP will work in Ethiopia’s least developed regions—Afar, Benishangul Gumuz, Somali and Gambella—to improve the nutritional status, treatment success and quality of life of PLHIV.It will enhance their food and economic security, support children vulnerable to HIV andcontribute to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.WFP’s current HIV and AIDS activities support treatment in urban areas throughout the country, including assessments, counselling and food assistance for those who are malnourished. They take a sustainable approach, which also emphasizes social safety nets and economic activities for affected households. From 2008 to 2010, these activities reached 355,000 people affected by HIV and AIDS in 23 towns. PEPFAR’s donation will allow WFP to reach, nationwide, an additional 375,000 vulnerable people over five years. page 2Food and nutrition assistance is an essential and cost-effective means of enhancing the success of antiretroviral treatment (ART), enabling nutritional recovery and mitigating the socio-economic consequences of HIV and tuberculosis (TB). Furthermore, this type of assistance increases the likelihood that patients will adhere to treatment, thereby reducing the likelihood that additional, more costly treatments will need to be found.―We’ve seen that HIV patients who are malnourished when they start their treatment are much more likely to die than well-nourished patients,‖ said Martin Bloem, WFP’s chief of PoNutrition and HIV/AIDS Policy. ―By collaborating with PEPFAR, we can ensure thatbeneficiaries in Ethiopia are in a good position to return to healthy, productive lives.‖In 2010, WFP supported 2.5 million beneficiaries in 47 countries through its HIV and TB programmes, including food and nutritional support to some 500,000 PLHIV as part of their ART or TB treatment. By providing the right foods at the right time, WFP strives to maximize the success of its investments in individuals and communities.# # #WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, WFP feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.WFP now provides RSS feeds to help journalists keep up with the latest press releases, videos and photos as they are published on WFP.org. For more details see: http://www.wfp.org/rssFollow us on Twitter @wfp_mediaWFP has a dedicated ISDN line in Italy for quality two-way interviews with WFP officials.For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):Judith Schuler, WFP/Addis Ababa, Tel. +251 115 515188 , Mob. +251 911 201 976Gaelle Sevenier, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564 , Mob +41 79 285 7304 Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854 , Mob. +39 347 9450634Caroline Hurford, WFP/London, Tel. +44 20 72409001 , Mob. +44 7968 008474Rene McGuffin, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1 202 6530010 ext. 1149, Mob. +1 202 4223383Challiss McDonough, WFP/Nairobi, Tel. +254 20 762 2179 , Mob. +254 733 528 91

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Prof. Muse Tegegne has lectured sociology Change &  Liberation  in Europe, Africa and Americas. He has obtained  Doctorat es Science from the University of Geneva.   A PhD in Developmental Studies & ND in Natural Therapies.  He wrote on the  problematic of  the Horn of  Africa extensively. He Speaks Amharic, Tigergna, Hebrew, English, French. He has a good comprehension of Arabic, Spanish and Italian.