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Donor Fatigue Harming Efforts To Fight Drought In Horn Of Africa, Aid Agencies Say

As a severe drought affecting Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia forces more people into refugee camps, donor fatigue is harming aid agencies’ abilities to work in the Horn of Africa, because “these recurrent droughts used to happen every 5-10 years but what we see now is it basically every other year … an indication of climate change conditions,” Michael Klaus, UNICEF spokesperson for east and southern Africa, told Reuters in an interview (Gachenge, 7/2).

According to VOA News, the U.N. “reports more than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are affected by the most severe drought to strike the region over the past 60 years. Two consecutive years of poor rain has resulted in crop failure and the death of up to 30 percent of livestock.” In addition, rising food prices are “pushing many moderately poor families over the edge,” and refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia are becoming overcrowded, aid agencies say, VOA News reports (Schlein, 7/10). 

“Aid agencies are doing all they can, but the ‘perfect storm’ of drought, war and costly food is difficult to overcome when resources are so limited,” the Independent writes (Randall/Murphy/Yussuf, 7/3). Several aid agencies, including Oxfam, Christian Aid, and Save the Children, “have launched multimillion-pound appeals” to help address the crisis, the Guardian notes (Rice, 7/4). Other organizations are looking to implement long-term solutions, such as conflict resolution and climate change policies, to complement short-term emergency relief work, according to the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters Blog” (Ford, 7/4).

In related news, a new report from the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction says droughts “are poorly understood and lack reliable data that could inform mitigation strategies,” according to SciDev.Net. “Although efforts such as the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Famine Early Warning System (FEWS Net) show how drought risk can be modeled when data is available, there is not enough data to do this at a global level,” the news service writes. The report calls for increased global drought monitoring and recording of its effects on food security and poverty (Purcell, 7/4).

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