Drought / Drylands / DRYLANDSCRP / East Africa / Ethiopia / Food Security / Kenya / Pastoralism / Somalia / USA / Vulnerability

The long and short of it: Put as much effort into building resilience as into feeding the hungry–BBC’s Andrew Harding

Goats drinking water at an Oxfam funded borehole

Goats drinking water at an Oxfam-funded borehole in Dilmanyale Village, South Wajir District, in northern Kenya; many people move to the village because of this water source, but once the animals have finished drinking they must walk over 10 km to get to pasture (photo on Flickr by Anna Ridout/ Oxfam International).

Andrew Harding, the BBC’s Africa correspondent, has a list of the ‘top 10 culprits’ of the Horn of Africa crisis, and says what many are saying about its main causes, which include neglect of pastoral drylands in the face of more people and fewer resources.

[I]f the world put as much effort into long-term programmes to build resilience in communities, as it is now doing to feed the hungry, this famine would never have happened.’

‘Kenya’s government has woefully, scandalously underinvested in livestock support, education, and basic infrastructure in its most vulnerable communities. And when communities are properly helped, they can prepare for, and cope with, the toughest droughts. . . .

‘In areas of northern Kenya the population has reportedly doubled in the past decade. “Twice as many people, but the same number of livestock. This is unsustainable,” a UN agriculture expert told me.

Pastoralists are famously adaptable—they have to be to survive. But the pressures now facing them are overwhelming, and accelerated urbanisation looks inevitable.’

Read the whole article at BBC: ‘Top 10 culprits’ for Horn of Africa hunger, 26 Jul 2011.

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