Tag Archives: food crisis

Horn Of Africa Faces Humanitarian Crisis

United Nations aid workers in the Horn of Africa are warning of an impending crisis for millions of its inhabitants as drought and rising food prices are reducing people to the position of beggars in their own land. Dahir Abdi Salah used to feed his children three meals a day, pancakes for breakfast, spaghetti for lunch, and beans for dinner, but now they subsist on porridge once a day. “A kilogram of beans used to cost a few cents, now it’s a dollar.” More than 14 million people across the Horn of Africa rely on food aid and other assistance in order to survive. According to Mark Bowden, of the UN, “this had led to more than belt-tightening. People are reducing their food intake– we have only months before we go into a major crisis.”

There are growing fears rain that normally arrives in the fall will not make its annual visit this year which would devastate an area that already is experiencing disaster. Somalia is a basket case where invading Ethiopian troops have merely worsened a terrible situation in which local chieftains vie for power.

The world needs its oil to drive its cars which can pollute the air. Unfortunately, the wold apparently places its automobiles ahead of humans living on this planet.

Somalia Approaches Total Chaos

Attacks on aid workers in Somalia and disruptions to food shipments are threatening the lives of millions of people. This unfortunate nation has known nothing but discord, violence, brutality, invasion, warring cliques and nations without any semblance of a government that can unite people in the nation. PeterGoossens, of the World Food Progamme(WFP) warns: “Somalia is at a dire crossroads. If sufficient food and other humanitarian assistance cannot be scaled up in the coming months, parts of the country would well be in the grips of disaster similar to the 1992/93 famine when hundreds of thousands died.”

French, Danish and Dutch naval vessels have been invaluable in helping get supplies to Somalia but much more is needed. Islamic militants are fighting government and Ethiopian forces in a civil war that continues to escalate with ordinary citizens caught in the middle.

Food Tme Bomb Ticking In Asia

Japan’s Finance Minister, Fukushiro Nukaga, told an Asian business conference there is a time bomb ticking in Asia due to dramatic rise in food prices. Other speakers echoed his warning. Indian Finance Secretary, D. Subba Rao, believes a rise in food prices of about 20% will create higher poverty in Asia. “In many countries that will mean the undoing of gains in poverty reduction achieved in the past decade of growth. The Asian Development Bank estimates about 20% of people in Asia are living on less than a $1.40 a day compared to 60% who lived that way in the 1960s.

The dual monster of rising oil prices and the shift to using food in order to obtain oil has resulted in dramatic rises in food prices and increased shortage in items like rice which are so important to the diet of Asians. Several nations have resorted to food subsidies or export restrictions to counter rising costs, but they only exacerbate price rises.

Perhaps, it is time for a world wide approach to confronting the two issues of food and fuel. The world has to begin getting serious about alternative energy resources and it must shift away from using food as a means of obtaining fuel. The alternative may well be the outbreak of serious conflicts in many parts of the world.

UN Food Crisis Task Force Formed

The world is rapidly moving toward a momumental food crisis spawned by converting food production into oil which has placed new demands on the amount of food available to inhabants of planet Earth. UN Secetary-General Ban ki-moon, ordered a top level task force to take on the global crisis caused by rising food prices and urged major exporters to end their bans on export of food. His task force includes the heads of 27 key international agencies whose goal is coming up with at least an immediate solution to the problem of lack of food. Ban is concerned that Argentina, Brazil, Vietnam and Egypt have imposed limittions on the export of certain produce due to fear they will not have enough to meet the needs of their own populations. “We urge countries not to use export bans. These controls encourage hoarding, drive up prices and hurt the poorest people around the world.”

Ban noted, although the UN has pledges of nearly $500 million for food supplies, it actually only has $17 available right now. One can only wonder how much of what is daily spent to fight in Iraq could be used to feed the people of the world.

Ban is talking about immediate solutions, but the overall long term impact of rising oil prices and diverting food to making oil must eventually be addressed. President Bush talks about waiting until the 2020s to address these issues, they must be dealt with now.

Poor Get Poorer, Rich Get Richer, Who The Hell Cares!

Throughout the world the price of food continues to rise as farmers devote a good portion of their fields of plenty to produce more plentiful supplies of ethanol to keep our cars moving. A reporter for Der Spiegel visited the deserted prison of Ft. Dimanche in Haiti where thousands now scrounge amidst the debris of what used to be home for those being tortured by the notorious saidistc dictator, “Baby Doc” Duvalier. People dig through piles of garbage in hope of a mouthful of food while women prepare something that looks like biscuits but is really made from clay, which combined with some salt and a piece of lettuce, becomes the day’s main food. The clay to make a hundred biscuits is $5 which is nearly twice what it cost a year ago.

The shortage of food is ever increasing all over the world and people nearing starvation have nothing to lose but their lives which are lost already. Thousands have marched in Port-au-Prince demanding food and receiving promises. The price of wheat, corn, and rice which are basic staples of diets in Africa, southeast Asia and the Middle East are rising with no end in sight. George Bush has no concern about global warming but its effect is already seen in loss of agricultural land. An unforseen factor in forecasts about the future of food was failure to reckon with the alteration in diet of Asians and Africans as they become more affluent. They shift away from traditonal rice to wheat and corn products causing prices to rise.

The media is filled with stories about the “financial crisis” but what happens if all hope is gone from hundreds of millions of people? If we are concerned about terrorism today, what awaits us in the future when poverty has wrecked the lives of untold millions?