Opinion Pieces, Editorial Address Ongoing Hunger Crisis In Horn Of Africa

Several news sources have published opinion pieces regarding the ongoing famine in Somalia and hunger situation in the Horn of Africa, some of which are summarized below:

  • Globe and Mail: “The Politics of Hunger: Shocking Images Aren’t Enough”: Noting that the famine in Somalia has been caused by myriad factors, including a lack of governance, war, rising food costs and drought, Marilyn McHarg, executive director of Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders Canada, writes, “[L]et’s be honest in admitting that humanitarian aid won’t solve Somalia’s problems, beyond keeping people alive for better times in the distant future. Aid is a temporary measure until more permanent solutions can address root causes, and the downward spiral can be reversed. … If aid organizations were bolder about the realism of our communications, we could foster groundbreaking levels of transparency and accountability” (9/13).
  • Huffington Post: “A Tale Of Sanitation: What Somalia Teaches Us”: “As we struggle to respond to this humanitarian catastrophe, we must remember that Somalis are in need of more than access to food, but also safe water, sanitation, shelter and healthcare,” Jan Eliasson, former foreign minister of Sweden and former U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, writes, adding, “Saving the lives of women and children by the provision of basic care, including access to family planning services, safe water and sanitation must be our priority” (9/12).
  • New York Times: “Somalia’s Worsening Famine”: This editorial states, “Because it is dangerous for Westerners to operate in Somalia, the United States and other donors are trying to be more creative and use local traders to get food and medicine to vulnerable populations. Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and other gulf states — Somalia’s major trading partners — need to use their influence to persuade both the government in Mogadishu and militant groups to do more to help donors get aid to the starving. That includes water and vaccines as well as food.” The editorial concludes, “Saudi Arabia and the gulf states should use their clout to ensure that this time Somalia makes real progress” to “improve governance, eradicate corruption and end conflict” (9/12).
  • Sydney Morning Herald: “Women Must Be Central To Global Aid Efforts”: “In Africa, as in the rest of the world, women’s progress is inextricably linked to community, national and global prosperity,” and with an estimated 80 percent of refugees in the Horn of Africa being women and children, “women need to be central to global aid efforts,” Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd writes. “We need to increase our efforts to ensure equitable access to health and education. We need to help improve the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls. We need to work much harder to encourage greater participation by women in politics, decision-making and peace-building,” he says, concluding, “Even in the dire conditions of the Horn of Africa, we are making a start on building a better longer-term future for women and children” (9/13).

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