Saturday, May 28, 2016

10.2 Million People Food Insecure in Ethiopia

A pilot report assessing global food security has been published as a part of a new joint network between FAO, WFP and EU
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the European Union
A girl eating raw maize from a bag in Halachaharabate village, West Arsi Zone, Oromia region, in Ethiopia, 11 November 2009

A girl eating raw maize from a bag in Halachaharabate village, West Arsi Zone, Oromia region, in Ethiopia, 11 November 2009
EPA
A new network to conduct real-time food security assessments around the world was launched this Monday by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UN World Food Programme and the European Union. The collective effort will result in regular reports that will prompt timely and more adequate responses to food crises and encourage joint responses. 
The network's first pilot report was published this March with an assessment of the food and nutrition security status of 70 countries that were affected by a food crisis in 2015. The crises were caused by either natural phenomena such as El Niño; disasters such as earthquakes, floods, drought; or protracted crises, namely prolonged armed conflicts. The report will serve as a guidance at how to fairly distribute the 539 million Euro pledged by the European Commission to help countries in need.
Young Ethiopian girl going for water near the capital city Addis Ababa, 1 May 2015

Young Ethiopian girl going for water near the capital city Addis Ababa, 1 May 2015
Nick Fox / Shutterstock
According to the report, some 240 million people across 70 countries are food insecure. Nearly half of them live in El Niño-affected countries.
Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, has the highest number of food insecure individuals – 10.2 million people, which is 10.3 percent of the nation's total population. The factor responsible for the severe food insecurity was a strong El Niño-driven drought, which wreaked havoc on crop production and has led to the death of more than 200 000 livestock across the country.
In relative terms, the situation in the small Pacific island country of Vanuatu is even worse, as the 0.166 million food insecure individuals represent 61 percent of the nation's population. Vanuatu, thus, ranks as the country with the highest percentage of total population struggling with food insecurity. The assessment shows that the food crisis was also brought by the El Niño phenomenon together with severe floods by cyclones and an ongoing armed conflict.
A woman prepares food for her son in front of their home ruined after the Cyclone Pam hit the island of Tanna, Vanuatu, 17 March 2015

A woman prepares food for her son in front of their home ruined after the Cyclone Pam hit the island of Tanna, Vanuatu, 17 March 2015
EPA
Military conflicts are also the main driver of food crisis in countries in the Middle East, such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa, where illegal mining activities cause the hunting and trading of many endangered species valued for bushmeat.
In Asia, 43 percent of the population of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is also food insecure due to El Niño and water scarcity in crop irrigation, which caused a 9 percent drop in food production for the first time since 2010. This is a painful hit for North Korea, which is already one of the poorest countries in the world, as agriculture accounts for 21 percent of the country's income and is a major provider of employment.
The assessment provides detailed information on the food security situation in many of the most malnutrition-affected countries. However, it is unclear why India, the country with the second-highest estimated number of undernourished people in the world, was not included in the report.
A broom maker prepares food for his family in the outskirts of Srinagar, Kashmir, India, 10 June 2015

A broom maker prepares food for his family in the outskirts of Srinagar, Kashmir, India, 10 June 2015
EPA
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Sunday, May 22, 2016

50 million Africans face hunger after crops fail again | Global development | The Guardian

50 million Africans face hunger after crops fail again
UN fears that food aid will not arrive in time to help people of ravaged countries
Farmer Serena Gadinala stands next to her wilted crops in the Neno district of southern Malawi.
Farmer Serena Gadinala stands next to her wilted crops in the Neno district of southern Malawi. Photograph: Tamara van Vliet/OCHA
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John Vidal in Lilongwe, Malawi
Sunday 22 May 2016 07.00 BST Last modified on Sunday 22 May 2016 09.59 BST
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Up to 50 million people in Africa will need food by Christmas as a crisis across the continent triggered by El Niño worsens, the UN and major international charities have warned.

A second year of deep drought in much of southern and eastern Africa has ravaged crops, disrupted water supplies and driven up food prices, leaving 31 million people needing food now, and 20 million more likely to run out this year.

A further 10 million people in Ethiopia, six million in southern Sudan and five million in Yemen were in danger of starvation after floods and drought, said the UN.

The severest El Niño in 30 years was expected to tail off in the next month as hot equatorial waters in the Pacific returned to normal temperatures, but its effects would be felt for many more months, said the World Food Programme. Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s humanitarian chief, said: “The collective impact of the El Niño phenomenon has created one of the world’s biggest disasters for millions of people, yet this crisis is receiving little attention.

“The numbers are staggering. One million children in eastern and southern Africa alone are severely acutely malnourished, and across southern Africa 32 million people need assistance and that figure is likely to increase.” The UN predicts that food will start running out on a large scale by July, with the crisis peaking between December and next April.

Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Madagascar, Angola and Swaziland have declared national emergencies or disasters, as have seven of South Africa’s nine provinces. Botswana, Kenya, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have also been badly hit.

In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has appealed for foreign aid to buy food and Malawi is expected to declare in the next few weeks that more than 8 million people, half the population, will need food aid by November. Maize prices have risen by 60% across much of the region within a few months.

Seven million people in Syria, 10 million in Ethiopia and 14 million in Yemen also needed food urgently, said the UN. Elhadj As Sy, secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, pledged $110m after visiting Malawi and Zimbabwe last week. “We cannot describe enough how dire the situation is,” he said.

Abdoulaye Balde, the World Food Programme country director in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, said: “The situation is critical. We are at the point of no return.”

Fears are mounting that international donors, meeting at this week’s UN humanitarian summit in Istanbul, will not pledge enough in time to buy and deliver food. Their fear is that the Syrian civil war and refugee crises are putting an unprecedented strain on aid. African leaders have requested more than $1.5bn, but less than 25% has been pledged.

“The window for responding in a meaningful manner is closing rapidly,” said Shadrack Omol, senior adviser to the UN’s children fund, Unicef. “The concern is that slow-onset emergencies, such as the one we are dealing with in southern Africa, do not get enough attention because they creep up on us.”
Since July 2015, Britain has contributed about £150m for aid to El Niño-affected countries in Africa, including Malawi, Ethiopia, Kenya Mozambique, Somalia and Uganda. The international development minister, Nick Hurd, said: “We cannot and will not stand idly by while millions suffer. Britain is playing a leading role in helping countries across Africa to cope with the impact of El Niño. Support for people affected by El Niño is important to Africa and also firmly in Britain’s national interest.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We must rebuild farmers' resilience after Ethiopia's catastrophic El Niño | Global development | The Guardian



Men on a drought-ravaged field in Ethiopia

 More than 10.2 million Ethiopians need food assistance after this year’s severe El Niño drought. Photograph: Jonathan Fontaine/Sipa/Rex/ShutterstockWe must rebuild farmers' resilience after Ethiopia's catastrophic El Niño | Global development | The Guardian: "A year ago, Ethiopia was on the verge of achieving something remarkable. Having been the second poorest country in the world as recently as 2000, Ethiopia was on track to becoming middle-income by 2025. The 1980s image of a country ravaged by famine, poverty and conflict was fading.

A large part of Ethiopia’s phenomenal growth was thanks to more than a decade of investment, with a particular focus on transforming agriculture. This sector employs more than 80% of the population of 91 million people (pdf), and accounts for more than 60% of exports. Agricultural yields were tripling in some regions, with the farmers I visited proud to be harvesting more, earning more, and sending their children to school and university.

But this year’s severe El Niño drought has dealt a major blow. The effects have been devastating, as more than 10.2 million Ethiopians require food assistance. Farmers in drought-affected areas have had to watch the crops and livestock that feed their families and produce their income vanish.

But there is still cause for hope. El Niño’s impact could have been much worse, had Ethiopia not begun to implement its climate-resilient green economy (pdf) strategy in recent years. Ethiopia is much more capable of recovering this time around, even though the drought is more severe than that of the 1980s.

Over the past 15 years, Ethiopia has worked to lay the foundations for a vibrant and productive agricultural sector; one that can better absorb the devastating shocks of the current drought while quickly getting the country back on an upward trajectory.

Poor soil health has been one of the biggest obstacles to agricultural growth. In the past six months, Ethiopia has bought wheat worth 6bn birr (£193m) for drought-affected areas – money it need not spend if our own farmers could grow more. As a first important step, to increase crop productivity, the government has invested in a digital soil fertility mapping exercise, the soil information system (EthioSIS), led by the agriculture ministry and the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency.

So far, the EthioSIS project has analysed more than 80% of our agricultural soils, revealing that they lack nutrients such as potassium, sulphur, zinc, boron and copper. Since these nutrients were not present in the fertilisers we used to import, crops could never reach their full potential.

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Farmers are now gaining access to new, custom-made fertilisers that will address these deficiencies. These blends are being produced locally.

Early results have shown these blends and customised compound fertilisers improve yields by up to 65%, on average, when used with other recommended improved crop and soil management practices. Continuing to reach remote farmers with training on how to use these improved inputs, supported by a voucher system for buying them, is vital to rehabilitating the sector.

Much consensus exists on the need for social safety nets to provide security for rural livelihoods. More than 45,000 public projects are carried out each year by the productive safety net programme (PSNP) in Ethiopia, which involves the local community in building vital public services and pays for this labour through cash and food.

Projects focus on the provision of public goods, many of which allow farmers to recover from climatic shocks. Tree planting and gully control, for example, not only reduce hunger and poverty in the rural population, but also help prevent soil erosion and sequester large amounts of carbon, contributing to more resilient landscapes.


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Farmers in drought-affected areas have had to watch the crops and livestock that feed their families and produce their income vanish. Photograph: Jonathan Fontaine/Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock
Our watershed development initiative, part of the PSNP and funded by the government and donors, has restored more than 20m hectares (49m acres) of degraded lands, according to an agriculture ministry internal progress report, providing vital rainwater-capturing services for farmers. These were simply not in place in the 1980s. El Niño’s impact has been relatively minimal in these rehabilitated and protected landscapes, demonstrating the need to strengthen efforts to build more resilience against climate shocks.

The PSNP initiative has now been decentralised to the regional authorities, with the federal government monitoring and assisting where necessary. This will help each region respond to its own challenges.

It will still be no easy task for Ethiopia’s farmers to recover from what meteorologists have called the worst drought in 50 years, but at least we already have many of the fundamental tools at our disposal. Continuing to invest in proper soil health, and in land and water management, will be critical for our farmers and country to advance once more.

Professor Tekalign Mamo is the former state minister for agriculture and currently leads programmes with the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency"



'via Blog this'

Flooding aggravates Ethiopians weather woes

Flooding has added to the suffering inflicted by the drought caused by the global El Nino weather pattern. "Flooding aggravates Ethiopia's weather woes
Sunday 15 May 2016 08:34
ANA

Flooding has added to the suffering inflicted by the drought caused by the global El Nino weather pattern.(SABC)
TAGS:
Famine Early Warning Systems NetworkAmharaSomaliUSEthiopiaAddis Ababa
Flooding in Ethiopia has killed at least 90 people, displaced more than 86 000, and affected more than 400 000 people, mostly in the eastern and southern parts of the country, according to disaster risk management commission head Mitiku Kassa.

At a press conference with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) senior official Thomas Staal, Kassa said the flooding had added to the suffering inflicted by the drought caused by the global El Nino weather pattern.

The Ethiopian government says 10.2 million people will need food aid by the end of the year because of the drought.

"54% of the $1.4 billion we need to deal with the drought until December 2016 has been secured," Kassa said.

The Ethiopian government had itself provided $315 million since June 2015 to help drought victims with grain or soil conservation works.

Kassa denied speculation that people had died because of the drought. This is a sensitive topic as the 1984/5 drought-induced famine cost the lives of up to a million people, exacerbated by armed conflict at the time.

The US-run Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS) estimates parts of the Amhara, Somali, and Oromia regions have reached phase four food insecurity, one phase short of famine.

Kassa also praised the US for its emergency relief, saying it was ahead of other development partners.

Staal announced another $128 million in aid from the US on top of the $705 million it has provided since October 2014.

He said Ethiopia was a different country from the one he saw in 1990 on his first trip, with development projects now preventing the drought from becoming a catastrophe. This would be difficult to manage even for a strong, middle-income country.

But he added the need on the ground far outstripped the country's current capacity and there was little time to deal with the food needs of drought-affected people.

Kassa said the unusually heavy rain in Addis Ababa and other parts could benefit some areas, providing water for livestock and greening of pastures to ease the drought.

However, the floods also present danger and so Kassa's commission has formed a task force comprising of the ministries of defence, transport, urban development, and housing to work on soil rehabilitation and flood resistance, including diverting flood water away from settlements. The task force also provides flood alerts to regional states.

Staal said the impact of the rain would be felt only by September/October if grain seeds were provided now. But full recovery from the drought would take more than a year."



'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ethiopia and the End of Famine

To the Editor:
Re “Is the Era of Great Famines Over?” (Opinion Pages, May 8):
While Alex de Waal correctly notes that Ethiopia has made incredible progress since the famine of 1984-85, we can’t dismiss the severity of the drought right now. According to the U.N. World Food Programme, roughly 75 percent of affected households are skipping meals and almost one quarter have sold productive assets like livestock to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Ethiopia continues to host more refugees than any other nation in Africa.
The government of Ethiopia should be lauded for its efforts to address this historic drought — de Waal rightly mentions the resources it has committed to the relief effort, including the productive safety net system, which has kept 8 million people from falling into hunger. Yet major shortfalls remain that threaten the availability of essential assistance in the months ahead. The international community must demonstrate without delay — the political will necessary to make adequate resources available to address the needs of at-risk populations. If global leaders do not step up, the world could witness the erosion of hard-won development gains in the country.
RICK LEACH
Washington
The writer is president and C.E.O. of World Food Program USA.
To the Editor:
With all due respect, Mr. de Waal is not asking the right question, and he is doing the people of Ethiopia a great disservice.
I have just returned from Denan, Ethiopia, home to a camp for internally displaced persons. In the Denan camp, despite promises by international aid organizations, food relief had not been delivered in nearly seven months. Many people are lucky to be able to give one meager meal per day to their children. Some get less than that. Perhaps the images are not as shocking as those from the 1980s, but seeing a woman hold a malnourished child who is too weak to walk is an image that will stay with me for a long time.
It may be that due to somewhat better infrastructure and an improved political situation that the numbers of great starvation and death are not what they once were. But this is irrelevant to the families who are still watching their children suffer.
The ultimate goal of The Denan Project, of which I’m the president and co-founder, is to help impoverished communities become self-sustainable. But when feeding one’s children becomes a daily struggle, when hunger pains do not lessen, it is not possible to focus on anything else — least of all the semantics of labeling their unspeakable suffering a “great famine” or not.
DICK YOUNG

Ethiopia and the End of Famine

To the Editor:
Re “Is the Era of Great Famines Over?” (Opinion Pages, May 8):
While Alex de Waal correctly notes that Ethiopia has made incredible progress since the famine of 1984-85, we can’t dismiss the severity of the drought right now. According to the U.N. World Food Programme, roughly 75 percent of affected households are skipping meals and almost one quarter have sold productive assets like livestock to make ends meet. Meanwhile, Ethiopia continues to host more refugees than any other nation in Africa.
The government of Ethiopia should be lauded for its efforts to address this historic drought — de Waal rightly mentions the resources it has committed to the relief effort, including the productive safety net system, which has kept 8 million people from falling into hunger. Yet major shortfalls remain that threaten the availability of essential assistance in the months ahead. The international community must demonstrate without delay — the political will necessary to make adequate resources available to address the needs of at-risk populations. If global leaders do not step up, the world could witness the erosion of hard-won development gains in the country.
RICK LEACH
Washington
The writer is president and C.E.O. of World Food Program USA.
To the Editor:
With all due respect, Mr. de Waal is not asking the right question, and he is doing the people of Ethiopia a great disservice.
I have just returned from Denan, Ethiopia, home to a camp for internally displaced persons. In the Denan camp, despite promises by international aid organizations, food relief had not been delivered in nearly seven months. Many people are lucky to be able to give one meager meal per day to their children. Some get less than that. Perhaps the images are not as shocking as those from the 1980s, but seeing a woman hold a malnourished child who is too weak to walk is an image that will stay with me for a long time.
It may be that due to somewhat better infrastructure and an improved political situation that the numbers of great starvation and death are not what they once were. But this is irrelevant to the families who are still watching their children suffer.
The ultimate goal of The Denan Project, of which I’m the president and co-founder, is to help impoverished communities become self-sustainable. But when feeding one’s children becomes a daily struggle, when hunger pains do not lessen, it is not possible to focus on anything else — least of all the semantics of labeling their unspeakable suffering a “great famine” or not.
DICK YOUNG

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Flooding Adds To Ethiopia's Troubles



ADDIS ABABA – Flooding in Ethiopia has killed at least 90 people, displaced more than 86,000, and affected more than 400,000 people, mostly in the eastern and southern parts of the country, according to disaster risk management commission head Mitiku Kassa.
At a press conference with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) senior official Thomas Staal, Kassa said the flooding had added to the suffering inflicted by the drought caused by the global El Nino weather pattern.
The Ethiopian government says 10.2 million people will need food aid by the end of the year because of the drought.
“Fifty-four percent of the $1.4 billion(R21.57billion) we need to deal with the drought until December 2016 has been secured,” Kassa said.
Kassa denied speculation that people had died because of the drought. This is a sensitive topic as the 1984/5 drought-induced famine cost the lives of up to a million people, exacerbated by armed conflict at the time.
The US-run Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS) estimates parts of the Amhara, Somali, and Oromia regions have reached phase four food insecurity, one phase short of famine.
Kassa also praised the US for its emergency relief, saying it was ahead of other development partners.
Staal announced another US128 million in aid from the US on top of the US705 million it has provided since October 2014.
He said Ethiopia was a different country from the one he saw in 1990 on his first trip, with development projects now preventing the drought from becoming a catastrophe. This would be difficult to manage even for a strong, middle-income country.
But he added the need on the ground far outstripped the country’s current capacity and there was little time to deal with the food needs of drought-affected people.
However, the floods also present danger and so Kassa’s commission has formed a task force comprising of the ministries of defence, transport, urban development, and housing to work on soil rehabilitation and flood resistance, including diverting flood water away from settlements. The task force also provides flood alerts to regional states.
Staal said the impact of the rain would be felt only by September/October if grain seeds were provided now. But full recovery from the drought would take more than a year.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Does Ethiopia need international aid to cope with drought?


  • 5 February 2016
  •  
  • From the sectionAfrica
Media captionAlastair Leithead reports from the affected region
Ethiopia is the world's fastest growing economy. So when drought struck why did it need international help?
Ethiopia has been doing very well over the last 15 years or so.
Millions of people have been lifted out of poverty as the economy, jointly with Turkmenistan, has been growing faster than anywhere else in the world.
The double-digit growth is obvious from the building sites and the tower blocks rising up on every corner in the capital Addis Ababa.
A worker stands on a building site in Axum, Ethiopia. 4 June 4, 2008Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionBuilding sites all over Ethiopia are just one illustration of the speed of the country's growth
The country has changed a great deal since 1984, when hundreds of thousands of people died of hunger.
Those terrible images of famine from more than 30 years ago still haunt Ethiopia.
It was a time when war and political neglect turned drought into disaster, and for a government today with grand ambitions it's still a raw wound.
Now it's a place with a confidence, only dented when the climate changes.
El Nino dried up the rainfall.
Drought once again turned the land to dust.
It's facing as bad a drought as 1984 over a much wider area.
A carcass of a dead cow in Farado Kebele January 2016Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionFarmers' livestock have died in the drought and they have been left with nothing
sacks of maizeImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionEthiopia has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on buying food for people affected by the drought
One man I met told me this is the worst drought he has seen in 45 years.
I met Ahmed Dubet Roble at a gathering of around 1,400 families in Fedeto. He had travelled from the barren countryside to ask for help.
He has lost everything.
Also there was Khadija Aden Abtidon, sitting by her little tent of sticks and cloth.
"We lost all our livestock," she said, "so we are here to seek support.
"There's no pasture, no water. We have never seen anything like this before."
In a warehouse in Dire Dawa I saw a huge tower of white maize sacks being loaded into an aid truck by a long line of men.
mapImage copyrightRELIEFWEB
The bags were emblazoned with "Ministry of Agriculture". This is food the Ethiopian government had bought abroad, imported into Djibouti, transported via its new electrified railway and was delivering to its people.
The country has already committed more than $380m (£260m) of its own money to buying aid and using its new Chinese-built railway that cuts hundreds of miles through the parched countryside from the port in Djibouti.
May 5, 2015 shows work in progress on the new railway tracks linking Djibouti with Addis Ababa.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionAid has been coming on the new railway line from Dijbouti - just one of Ethiopia's big infrastructure projects
But for all it has achieved, Ethiopia had to turn to the international community for help.
"The reason why we say we need support is not necessarily because everything is beyond the pale," said Communications Minister Getachew Reda, who says they will to everything to stop people dying for want of food.
"But rather, because the best way to maintain the gross trajectory and at the same insulate our people from disaster, is by working with our partners."
Ethiopia has worked hard on building its life savings - its developing economy - and by asking for help now it's trying to protect its family silver.
With so many crises around the globe tackled too late, the aid world often ends up rushing the patient to life support having missed the chance to give preventative medicine.
What is complicated is the time it takes for money to be given and for the aid to be delivered - here it can take months.
An Afar boy walks through failed crops and farmland in Magenta area of Afar, Ethiopia, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionEthiopia has had to appeal for international help, now they have to wait for it to come
Hundreds of millions have been given by international donors, but the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says only 46% of the $1.4bn needed has been given so far.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has less than a third of the money is says it needs to keep the aid coming.
"We need more funding and very quickly - immediately," said Oxfam's country director Ayman Omer.
"We need to work simultaneously on saving lives now and preparing for the next harvest.
"Even if the rain does come March to May that will definitely help in terms of water availability, but will not immediately result in harvest. The harvest season is up to November.
"It has been controlled so far, but much more is needed, otherwise we will get ourselves into problems."
The El Nino weather pattern has worsened the drought and if the next rains also fail, far more people will be affected, and those already needing help will need it far longer.

About Me

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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.