Monday, 12 October 2009

Africa crisis warning



Some months ago I wrote this blog post expressing concern that Africa may not be doing enough in preparation for the world's changing climate. Events have come to light which vindicate those like me who have been crying out for a long time about the need for us to take heed of what the climate change scientists have been saying for years. Millions of people across East Africa are already facing starvation and dire poverty as rising food prices and a drought leave them without food.

Oxfam are warning that aid is needed urgently across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, where many people who rely on imported food have seen prices go up by as much as 500 per cent.

Lindsey Hilsum Channel 4 News's International Editor was based in Kenya between 1982 and 1989. She wrote this report on returning to parts of Northern Kenya recently, after 20 years.
Among other things, she writes:
"It’s a world away from Nairobi, where Kenyan MPs – who are, incidentally, paid more than their British counterparts – drive around in fancy cars and plot for the next election."
"Climate change scientists say northern Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia can expect more extreme weather events like this. Later this month heavy rains associated with El Nino are expected, but they may not improve the pasture so much as cause erosion by flooding. The aid agencies call this a “climate and poverty hotspot”, a desperate conjunction of misfortune. The people here need money to build dams to conserve water when the rains come. They need new laws on land tenure to minimise the risk of conflict between different groups and tribes over scarce resources. They need alternative employment opportunities, or they’ll end up leaving pastoralism, which remains the best way of using this arid land, and add to Kenya’s growing population of unemployed slum-dwellers."
"Aid agencies, both foreign and national, can help alleviate the worst of the suffering but in the end a government is responsible for the welfare of its people."

"As we drove south I thought how China has lifted
400m people out of poverty in the last 30 years. That’s the population equivalent of 10 Kenyas. What has the Kenyan government done in that time? It hasn’t even built a decent road from Baragoi to Maralal."
This doctor's blog from Kenya is worth reading..

4 comments:

Beauty said...

"What has the Kenyan government done in that time?" is perhaps the only question. Why does Africa need aid while minerals extracted from her are traded on world markets? Climate change as the name implies will affect all but, again, where were those so called leaders of those places in the past three decades? It will get much worse and that hell, I fear, is upon us.

Anengiyefa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anengiyefa said...

Beauty, its sad that after nearly half a century since much of Africa achieved self-governance and took control of its destiny, we find that we're still in almost the same place that we were all those years ago. Some argue that we're even worse off today.

The effects of climate change will only exarcebate an already dire situation. And I am firmly of the view that the woes of our continent are the direct consequence of failed leadership. The success of leaders in Africa is measured ONLY by the extent of their brutality, their suppression of dissent and by how long they are able to cling to power, regardless of the fact that the quality of life of those over whom they are meant to execise leadership continues to deteriorate, as it has been doing over the years.

Mama Shujaa said...

Because no one wants to sacrifice. Not a single revolutionary in sight in Kenya, just politics "grammar" as usual. Dr. Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Laureate spoke of this in Atlanta in 2004 - we hosted her here. What has been done? She herself has done MUCH...worked to raise awareness with the Greenbelt Movement.

Many thanks for this post.