DROUGHTS DON’T NEED TO RESULT IN FAMINE: ETHIOPIA AND SOMALIA SHOW WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE

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The Conversation’s https://theconversation.com/ latest article dedicated to the issue of the drought in the Horn of Africa is discussing about its main reason La Nina cycle that increased dry and hot weather.

All these natural factors caused low harvest and severe food security crises, resulted in 37 million people of the region living in acute hunger, including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. With a breakdown into the regions, in Somalia for instance, 40 per cent of the whole population is facing food insecurity, in Ethiopia the proportion is lower – 20%, but the total number is higher at 20.4 million. Previous devastating draught in 2010-201 led to more than 260,000 deaths higher than normal levels of expected mortality in Somalia.

The author using the cases of two countries for exploring the reason of different mortality rate in Somalia and Ethiopia, why Somalia had a famine in the early 2010s while Ethiopia did not, despite both being exposed to severe droughts. One of the main differences that Ethiopia in comparison to Somalia, possessed a state with more political inclusion and more effective apply of foreign aid. Author identified these factors as contributing the impact of climate change on food security state.

Author further considered how two countries were dealing with three factors lead to the worsening of the situation. Somalia during the 2011 famine, tackled with weak national government, challenged by violent Islamist militia Al-Shabaab who controlled over south of the country. While Ethiopia increased social safety net programes to support population during the draught by providing money supply, employment programmes, food aid.   

The issue of fragmentation of the society was more distinctive in Somalia, number of marginalized groups such as Bantu Somalis, Rahanweyn clan were highly influenced by the draught. Additionally, Somalia has less developed aid providing system. Militants opposed aid directed to the country, that resulted in discharging humanitarian aid organisation from Somalia. Manu of these humanitarian organisations avoided being victimised by  Al-Shabaab’s militants. Overall, Somalia had limited humanitarian assistance, when it needed most with thousands of died population. Ethiopia in comparison was a popular among international humanitarian community that provided support to its social safety net programmes, that contribute to better preparation for the draught consequences.

However, current food security crisis diagnosed unreadiness of both countries. In Ethiopia progress was perished, rising political willingness resulted in significant security risks, aid was blocked during the local conflict.  Similarly in Somalia local and external stakeholders challenged to develop state capacity and inclusion due to the continued violence.

The authors book on this issue provides notions that highlight impact of international assistance on strengthening state capacity, donors’ work with local officials can address issues related to the draughts or cyclones. This assistance can upgrade state’s function through implementing preliminary warning systems to upgrade social services in the sphere of food assistance, cash transfers, hazard protection infrastructure. These examples show that climate adaptation can save people’s lives and support economic development.

At the same time as in case of Ethiopia, achievements can be undone, for external stakeholders creating political inclusiveness is sophisticated. With ongoing climate change problems, policymakers need to reconsider environmental peacebuilding, to diminish local conflicts, and to sustain more effective natural resource management.

Original text of full article is available here: https://theconversation.com/droughts-dont-need-to-result-in-famine-ethiopia-and-somalia-show-what-makes-the-difference-193241

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