Drought / East Africa / Ethiopia / Kenya / Nutrition / Pastoralism / Somalia / Vulnerability

When rains next fail to fall in the Horn of Africa, will we have failed again, too?

Humanitarian Appeal 2011

Launch of the Humanitarian Appeal 2011 (photo on Flickr by United Nations Information Service / Jean-Marc Ferre).

‘Humanitarian agencies and donors agreed at an emergency meeting in Rome on 25 July that the response to the crisis must address the immediate needs of the desperate population and help build resilience to avert similar crises in the future. . . .

‘. . .[D]onors can no longer afford to provide funding for disasters primarily after the fact. The cost is rising and compromising regular development investment.

‘Yet, warnings of impending disaster in the Horn of Africa went largely unheeded.

“Measures that could have kept animals alive—and provided milk, and income to buy food—would have been much cheaper than feeding malnourished children, but the time for those passed with very little investment,” said Simon Levine, of the Overseas Development Institute. . . .

‘While massive funding often goes to post-disaster response, funds for preparedness and contingency planning are relatively scarce. Risk prevention is often hard to fund as it does not generate the same kind of media as a high-profile emergency response. . . .

Conflict has severely hampered development and relief efforts in Somalia, and affects the mobility of pastoralists and their livestock, which is key to food security in the region. But disaster risk reduction is increasingly seen as a humanitarian imperative, crucial to battling poverty and achieving sustainable development.

“Building resilience of farming and herding communities in East Africa requires a long-term, sustained commitment on the part of the region’s governments and the international donor community,” said Kevin Cleaver, IFAD’s associate vice-president.

“The rains will fail. But let us not fail, too.”

Read the whole article at IRIN: Analysis: Horn of Africa aid must also build long-term resilience, 27 Jul 2011.

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