InterAction Council: The world today confronts a water crisis with critical implications for peace, political stability and economic development, experts warn in a new report issued jointly by the InterAction Council (IAC), a group of 40 prominent former government leaders and heads of state, United Nations University, and Canada’s Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.
“The future political impact of water scarcity may be devastating,” says former Canadian Prime Minister and IAC co-chair Jean Chrétien. “Using water the way we have in the past simply will not sustain humanity in future. The IAC is calling on the United Nations Security Council to recognize water as one of the top security concerns facing the global community.”
“Starting to manage water resources more effectively and efficiently now will enable humanity to better respond to today’s problems and to the surprises and troubles we can expect in a warming world.”
In her foreword to the report, “The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue,” IAC member and former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, underlined the danger in many regions, particularly sub-Saharan Africa or West Asia and North Africa, where critical water shortages already exist. Continue
AlertNet: Twenty more “Niles” needed to feed growing population.
The world needs to find the equivalent of the flow of 20 Nile rivers by 2025 to grow enough food to feed a rising population and help avoid conflicts over water scarcity, a group of former leaders said on Monday.
Factors such as climate change would strain freshwater supplies and nations including China and India were likely to face shortages within two decades, they said, calling on the U.N. Security Council to get more involved. Continue
AfricaNews: As the devastating drought causes havoc on the Horn of Africa region the number of people affected is staggering. Food, water, medical care and proper housing have become elusive. As a result hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in search of basic necessities.
Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp where people fleeing the drought and the fighting in Somalia have been seeking refuge is bursting at the seams. The camp which is about 50 miles from Somalia’s border was initially meant to hold just 80,000 people now has a population of some 450,000, and the number is swelling as hundreds of refugees trickle in daily. Continue
UPI: The main humanitarian focus is in East Africa, where the catastrophe sweeping the region has been a long time coming. Aid agencies have been warning for years that a famine was approaching but governments did little to avert disaster.
Read more: http://www.upi.com/
PARIS, Aug 26, 2011 (IPS) – The severe drought in the Horn of Africa, which has caused the death of at least 30,000 children and is affecting some 12 million people, especially in Somalia, is a direct consequence of weather phenomena associated with climate change and global warming, environmental scientists say. Continue
NatureNews: Chris Funk explains how his group last year forecast the drought in Somalia that is now turning into famine — and how that warning wasn’t enough.
“Last summer, our group was meeting when a La Niña weather system was forecast. We knew that such an event could bring trouble, and we issued an alert that East Africa might experience severe droughts.
We based this conclusion on information from three sources. First, we knew that La Niña events are commonly associated with weakened rains in the Horn of Africa from October to December.
Second, from work on the ground, we knew that persistent poor rains at the end of the past decade, combined with high food prices, had weakened the population’s resilience to food emergencies.
And third, research has linked warming in the Indian Ocean as a result of climate change to drying of March-to-June rains in East Africa. This warming has intensified the negative impact of La Niña events; it was the chance that both the autumn and spring rainy seasons could be affected, back to back, that really concerned us.”
USAID: A humanitarian emergency persists across all other regions of southern Somalia, and tens of thousands of excess deaths have already occurred. Despite increased attention in recent weeks, current humanitarian response remains inadequate, due in part to ongoing access restrictions and difficulties in scaling-up emergency assistance programs, as well as funding gaps. As a result, famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks and is likely to persist until at least December 2011. Continued efforts to implement an immediate, large-scale, and comprehensive response are needed. Nationwide, 3.7 million people are in crisis, with 3.2 million people in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance (2.8 million in the south).
LOKICHOGGIO, 29 July 2011 (IRIN) – Cross-border armed conflict over resources among Turkana pastoralists in northeastern Kenya has increased following the severe drought ravaging parts of the Horn of Africa. Besides rampant malnutrition, the desperate competition has led to increased livestock theft, shootings and forced migration. Continue
FEWS NET/USGS has merged two historical rainfall data sets: interpolated rain gauge data from 1950‐2009 and satellite derived rainfall estimates from 1995‐2011. Using this merged data set, FEWS NET/USGS then compared rainfall totals from the past year (June 1, 2010 – May 31, 2011) with comparable data for the last 60 years for specific drought‐affected pastoral areas of Kenya and Ethiopia (Figure 1). Somalia has also been severely affected by the current drought, but historical data is too limited for this type of analysis.
Continue: Famine Early Warning Systems Network
The 2011 Horn of Africa famine is a famine occurring in several regions in the Horn of Africa as a result of a severe drought that is affecting the entire Eastern Africa region. The drought, said to be “the worst in 60 years”, has caused a severe food crisis across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya that threatens the livelihood of more than 10 million people. Other countries in and around the Horn of Africa, including Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan and parts of Uganda, are also affected by a food crisis. Continue
LONDON (AlertNet) – One of the most severe droughts in 60 years has hit more than 10 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Uganda, with numbers and humanitarian needs growing every day.
Here is a selection of news and analysis about the hunger crisis.
• The total population in need in the region is about 10.7 million people. This figure includes some 778,000 refugees hosted in Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. Almost all the new refugees are from Somalia and are arriving in shocking health and nutritional conditions. More than 533,000 Somali refugees live in the region, mostly in neighbouring Kenya (423,000) and Ethiopia (150,000).
ActionAid: Poor rains in the last two wet seasons have led to severe drought across large parts of the Horn of Africa, affecting an estimated 10 million people. Crops are failing and livestock are dying from lack of pasture. With the next rainy season not due till November, the situation is grim.
VIDEO: 30 June 2011 – UNICEF’s Regional Emergency Advisor for Eastern and Southern Africa, Robert McCarthy, dicsusses the food crisis arising from severe drought and armed conflict in the Horn of Africa
AlertNet Video: More than ten million people face drought and starvation in the Horn of Africa region as aid agencies appeal for emergency aid to provide for children at risk.
Some 10 million people are at risk in the Horn of Africa as two years of drought have forced food prices beyond the reach of most families