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 user 2006-01-09 at 10:10:00 am Views: 80
  • #13366

    Reports Detail Grim Outlook In Africa
    06 – An estimated 11 million people in the Horn of Africa “are on the
    brink of starvation” because of severe drought and war, with some
    deaths already being reported in Kenya, the United Nations said Friday.
    in Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia need food aid, water, new
    livestock and seeds, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization
    said in a statement.
    “Millions of people are on the brink of
    starvation in the Horn of Africa due to recent severe droughts coupled
    with the effects of past and ongoing conflicts,” the agency said.
    the continent, war-ravaged Congo is suffering the world’s deadliest
    humanitarian crisis, with 38,000 people dying each month mostly from
    easily treatable diseases, according to a study published in Britain’s
    leading medical journal.
    Nearly 4 million people died between
    1998-2004 alone, the indirect result of years of ruinous fighting that
    has brought on a stunning collapse of public health services, the study
    in the Lancet concluded.
    FAO economist Shukri Ahmed said the Horn of
    Africa’s dry season had begun and the rains forecast for March and
    April are not expected to be significant.
    Normally, the herdsmen of
    the area would move from place to place for water and food for their
    livestock, but the recent drought had covered too large a swath of
    territory for them, Ahmed said.
    “The whole area is affected,” he said. “The situation is deteriorating.”
    FAO is calling for domestic food purchases in areas where harvests are
    expected to be favorable and food aid imports elsewhere, U.N. spokesman
    Stephane Dujarric said at U.N. headquarters in New York.
    The World
    Food Program is now feeding 1.2 million drought victims, “but fears
    this figure could more than double to 2.5 million,” Dujarric said.
    food situation in Somalia and eastern Kenya is particularly serious,
    the FAO said. Ahmed said local newspapers, citing Kenyan medical
    officials, have reported at least 30 famine-related deaths.
    government of Kenya has said its efforts to distribute food to
    famine-stricken areas in its north have been hampered by the nation’s
    nomadic culture and poor infrastructure. President Mwai Kibaki has
    declared a national disaster.
    In Somalia, the secondary rainy season
    from October to December failed in most of the eight agricultural
    regions in the south, “resulting in widespread crop failure” that could
    be the worst in a decade, the agency said.
    The country of 7 million
    that has not had an effective government since clan-based warlords
    overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Warlords then turned on
    each other.
    Nearly 150,000 people in Djibouti, or almost a fifth of
    the population, are believed to be facing food shortages because of
    drought, FAO said.
    In Ethiopia, food shortages have been reported in
    the east and south, even though the prospects for the current harvest
    were favorable, the agency said. It said more than $40 million in aid
    was needed to stave off starvation.
    About 3,000 U.N. soldiers guard
    the frontier between longtime enemies Ethiopia and Eritrea after a
    two-year war ended in 2000. Tensions have risen in recent weeks, with
    both countries massing troops along border and Eritrea restricting
    peacekeeping activities.
    In Congo, the majority of deaths were due
    to disease rather than violence, but war has cut off or reduced access
    to health services for millions in the impoverished nation the size of
    Europe, according to the study published Friday.
    Most deaths
    reported were due to “preventable and easily treatable diseases,” the
    study said. Malaria, diarrhea, respiratory infections and malnutrition
    topped the list.
    Major fighting ended in Congo in 2002 but the
    situation remains dire because of continued insecurity, poor access to
    health care and inadequate international aid. The problems are
    particularly acute in eastern Congo.
    “Rich donor nations are
    miserably failing the people of (Congo), even though every few months
    the mortality equivalent of two southeast Asian tsunamis plows through
    its territory,” the study said.
    Backed by about 15,000 U.N.
    peacekeepers, Congo’s government is struggling to re-establish
    authority across the country ahead of elections expected later this
    year, the first in decades. Militiamen still roam huge swaths of the
    east, formerly controlled by several different rebel groups whose
    leaders have been allotted top government posts.
    The study was based
    on a survey of 19,500 households across the country of 60 million
    between April and July 2004. Health Ministry workers and staff of the
    aid group International Rescue Committee conducted the interviews.
    results showed Congo’s monthly mortality rate was 40 percent higher
    than the average for sub-Saharan Africa: 2.1 deaths per 1,000 people,
    or the equivalent of 1,200 fatalities per day, compared with a
    continental average of 1.5 deaths per 1,000.
    Mortality rates were
    highest in Congo’s eastern provinces, which have been wracked by
    fighting and lawlessness for a decade. There, death rates were 93
    percent higher than the sub-Saharan Africa average.
    persistently high mortality in … Congo is deeply disturbing and
    indicates that both national and international efforts to address the
    crisis remain grossly inadequate,” the report said.
    The survey is
    the fourth of its kind conducted in Congo, Africa’s third-largest
    nation. The International Rescue Committee conducted three earlier
    surveys, the last of which in 2004 said that six years of conflict had
    claimed 3.8 million lives, mostly due to disease and food shortages.
    Congo’s government dismissed the report.
    consider that a big lie,” Information Minister Henri Mova Sakanyi said.
    “These figures are very exaggerated. All over the world, people die of
    disease, it’s not just Congo,” Sakanyi told The Associated Press.
    “It’s known that (aid) agencies have often played with the figures … to get financial support,” the minister added.
    The Lancet study said the deaths counted were “excess” deaths that would not have occurred if the situation in Congo was normal.

     Kenya in drive to feed starving

    Kenyan government has said it will buy up all the country’s available
    maize stocks to feed those in the drought-stricken north-east.
    Describing the situation as “very severe”, it said it would put aside $14m (£7.9m) to purchase the maize.
    Kenya says its main priority is to feed the 2.5 million people at immediate risk, almost 10% of the population.
    The United Nations food agency has warned that 11 million people across the Horn of Africa need food aid.
    Kenyan government has said conditions in the north-eastern provinces
    are a national disaster, with 2.5 million people expected to need aid
    to survive beyond the end of February.
    According to the UN’s Food
    and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Kenyan districts of Marsbait,
    Mandera and those far south such as Kajiado, Laikipia and parts of
    Eastern Province are the worst-affected.
    Kenya: 2.5m people
    Somalia: 2m
    Ethiopia: 1m
    Djibouti: 150,000
    Source: FAO
    Aid agencies working in the area have issued an appeal for funds, warning that water sources are drying up and animals dying.
    A BBC correspondent in northern Kenya says the corpses of cattle and donkeys are lying everywhere.
    BBC’s Adam Mynott says six children have died in the past three weeks
    in Wajir hospital from hunger-related diseases and 15 of the hospital’s
    20 beds are occupied by malnourished children in varying states of
    While trees with deep roots are still managing to push up a
    few scant leaves, everything else is brittle, brown and dry as tinder,
    he says.
    As well as Kenya, the FAO has warned that Ethiopia,
    Djibouti and Somalia are badly affected by severe drought – with
    Somalia particularly at risk