The Rendon Group
Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.
Horn of Africa: Drought threatens livelihoods and food security
An armed Somali walks past cow skeletons near the southern Somali town of Malkahidda. A drought has hit the Horn of Africa, leaving pastoralists devastated following deaths of their stock. (Africa Review)
In FEB16, UN World Food Program chief economist Arif Husain warned that more than 20 million people risk dying from starvation within six months in four separate famines, including one in the Horn of Africa. While humanitarian aid worldwide is at record high levels, demand is growing even faster. The rise has been attributed to deepening humanitarian crises, where conflict and severe drought have crippled food production levels. In a joint letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on 28FEB, 44 local and international aid agencies working in Somalia urged the UN chief to encourage the international community to step up its efforts to ensure that the mistakes made in the 2011 Horn of Africa crisis are not repeated and push for immediate drought relief. During his visit to Somalia and Kenya on 07-08MAR, Guterres urged the international community to take immediate action, saying the world has a “moral obligation” to help those in need.
News summary of events during the week of 27FEB17 – 08MAR17
- 27FEB: The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that the number of severely food-insecure people across the Greater Horn of Africa increased to 22.9 million in February as a prolonged drought led to failed harvests. (Xinhua)
- 27FEB: The UN declared a famine in South Sudan, Somalia, and northeastern Nigeria. (Kyodo)
- 27FEB: Drought is threatening 1.5 million people in Somalia and less than half of the people in the country have access to basic health services, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned. (Xinhua)
- 28FEB: Somalia’s new president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared the country’s drought to be a national disaster. (AP)
- 01MAR: Forty-four local and international aid agencies working in Somalia appealed to the UN to take urgent action to avert possible famine in the Horn of Africa nation where at least 6.2 million people face acute food shortage. (Xinhua)
- 02MAR: A week after his inauguration, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared a state of disaster in his drought-stricken country, where the lives of 6.2 million people are now at risk. (AlJazeera)
- 03MAR: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to enhance drought mitigation measures to ensure all those affected are assisted. (Xinhua)
- 03MAR: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that drought and conflicts were worsening food security across Africa, especially in its eastern part, even amid strong global harvests. (Xinhua)
- 03MAR: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a 24.6-million-US-dollar appeal to meet the emergency needs of over 1 million Somalis affected by drought. (Xinhua)
- 03MAR: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres travelled to Kenya for talks with leaders on regional issues, as South Sudan and Somalia face famine. (AFP)
- 04MAR: At least 110 people died in the south-western Bay region of Somalia, most of the victims being women and children killed by waterborne diseases. (WP)
- 05MAR: Dominique Burgeon, director of the emergency division of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), stated that more than 100 million people worldwide are facing acute malnutrition and risk starving to death. (Independent)
- 05MAR: Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General of the UN for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, urged international support for the estimated 2.7 million people in parts of Kenya who urgently need food and water following the onset of a severe drought. (Xinhua)
- 06MAR: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) raised an alarm over increasing cases of severe malnutrition among children in Somalia, terming it a threat to their survival. (Xinhua)
- 07MAR: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the international community to take action to avert famine in Somalia where a biting drought has left three million people going hungry. (AFP)
- 08MAR: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the international community will rally behind Kenya’s efforts to tackle biting drought and regional conflicts. (Xinhua)
Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the famine in the Horn of Africa region
- @DebsUnderdown – Deborah Underdown, Senior Communications Officer, Concern Worldwide (UK)
- @JensLaerke – Jens Laerke, Spokesperson, United Nations Humanitarian Office (Geneva)
- @LoisAppleby – Lois Appleby, Information Officer, Action Aid International Emergencies Team (London)
- @Mikkel_Funder – Mikkel Funder, Senior Researcher, Danish Institute for International Studies (Copenhagen)
- @SlatyerJudy – Judy Slatyer, CEO, Australian Red Cross
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the famine in the Horn of Africa region
Abdullahi Mohamed Ibrahim, Deputy Director, Sorrdo (Somalia)
“They are so desperate. The ravaging drought forced them to flee from their homes.”
- Drought, hunger push Somalis to flee amid fears of famine,” AP, 27FEB17
Aline O’Connor, Director, Agri Experience (Kenya)
“There is a lot of food insecurity in Kenya, approximately 42% of Kenyans … and the diversity of their diet is not good. You want to grow a variety of crops.”
- “The tech solutions to end global hunger,” CNN, 24FEB17
Dave Husy, Program Director, Plan Australia
“We’re looking at 40 to 50 percent of the population facing acute food shortages, and a good proportion would be reaching a desperate state.”
- “In Somalia, a drought killed 110 people in just 48 hours,” Washington Post, 04MAR17
Henry Wandera, Economics Lecturer, (Kenya)
“In urban areas, hunger is ravaging families not because there is no food to buy, but people cannot afford. The case in worse in rural areas where incomes are very low. If the situation persists, the number of people in need of food aid would reach alarming proportions.”
- “Kenya ups drought mitigation measures as hunger stalks urban poor,” Xinhua, 27FEB17
Simon Nyabwengi, National Director, World Vision International-Somalia Program
“These (71,000) children and their families need immediate life-saving assistance and access to food, water, medicine and other basic services essential for their survival as time is running out fast. A window of early action has been missed, for history not to repeat action cannot be delayed any longer.”
- “Aid agency says imminent famine threatens children survival in Somalia,” Xinhua, 25FEB17
Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the famine in the Horn of Africa region
- Somalia drought: At least 110 die as fears of famine grow
Byline: Marilia Brocchetto and Deborah Bloom
Date: 04 March 2017
At least 110 people, most of them women and children, have died from starvation and drought-related illness in Somalia in the past 48 hours, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said Saturday.
Khaire made the announcement while speaking to the drought committee in Mogadishu, four days after President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared the drought a national disaster.
- Roundup: Severe drought, heavy rainfall hampers life in east, southern Africa
Media: Xinhua (China)
Date: 03 March 2017
A prolonged drought across the East African region and heavy flooding in some southern African countries are compounding the effects of conflicts to make people’s lives difficult. Against the global trend of good harvests, Africa, especially its eastern part, faces the challenge of worsening food security due to drought and conflicts.
Some 37 countries require external assistance for food, including 28 African countries, as a result of lingering effects of last year’s El Nino-triggered drought on harvests, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
- Fighting to survive hunger in Somalia
Byline: Adriane Ohanesian
Date: 02 March 2017
Puntland, Somalia – A week after his inauguration, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared a state of disaster in his drought-stricken country of Somalia, where the lives of 6.2 million people are now at risk.
Even as the ongoing war against al-Shabab continues and African Union forces (AMISOM) fight to assist the fragile government, the looming famine has become a priority.
- Trump’s plan to slash foreign aid comes as famine threat is surging
Media: Washington Post
Byline: Kevin Sieff
Date: 01 March 2017
NAIROBI — President Trump has proposed large cuts to foreign aid at a time of acute need across Africa and the Middle East, with four countries approaching famine and 20 million people nearing starvation, according to the United Nations.
It is the first time in recent memory that so many large-scale hunger crises have occurred simultaneously, and humanitarian groups say they do not have the resources to respond effectively. The United Nations has requested $4.4 billion by March to “avert a catastrophe,” Secretary General António Guterres said last week. It has so far received only a tiny fraction of that request.
- Drought, hunger push Somalis to flee amid fears of famine
Media: Associated Press
Byline: Abdi Guled
Date: 27 February 2017
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Her eyes glued to the feeble movements of her malnourished baby with protruding ribs and sunken eyes, Fadumo Abdi Ibrahim struggled to hold back her tears in the stifling and crowded feeding center in Somalia’s capital. She waved a scrap of fabric over him to create a current of air.
She is one of thousands of desperate people streaming into Somalia’s capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies. The Somali government warns of a looming famine.