Somalia and the Horn of Africa, hunger emergency. More can be done: the floor to Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur for the right to food

Somalia and the Horn of Africa, hunger emergency. More can be done: the floor to Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur for the right to food

The disaster continues in the Horn of Africa , the hunger emergency for hundreds of thousands of children among 12 million people without food or water in Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya. The situation is very serious and there is an urgent need for help to which each of us can contribute : € 24 for 391 sachets of ready-to-use therapeutic food, through Doctors Without Borders.

Olivier De Schutter , UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, stresses that “this crisis appears to be a natural disaster, but in part it derives from human activity”.

Already on July 12, Olivier De Schutter – together with the independent UN expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Shamsul Bari – had urged the international community, from Geneva, to take the urgent measures necessary to face the crisis in progress in East Africa. Millions of human beings starve from the worst drought in the region in the past 60 years.

“The inhabitants of Somalia are now experiencing the most serious humanitarian tragedy of which there is any news , highlighted Bari. The drastic increase in food prices, conflicts and insecurity have caused an enormous displacement of the population, with dozens of Somalis who each day they migrate to Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti ». And the international community has barely offered 50% of the requested aid.

De Schutter added that “due to climate change, these events will be more and more frequent. We need to have emergency food reserves in strategic locations. We need to reform the Food Aid Convention which requires states to provide support where and when a crisis emerges. And we must better prepare the international community for the risk of drought, which governments must take into due consideration ».

This crisis could and should have been prevented, it is increasingly clear by now. And any further delay in aid aggravates the responsibility of those who have ignored that, already in the first half of 2011 the numbers of those in need of urgent humanitarian assistance have more than tripled compared to the previous year. Three out of five children arriving in refugee camps in Ethiopia are severely malnourished. In Kenya, more infant deaths were recorded in the first quarter of 2011 than in the whole of 2010. The share of children treated in Mogadishu hospitals increased from 3.5 to 46% only between April and May, according to data from the “World Health Organization “(WHO).

Food, clean water and health care are needed as soon as possible. “With severe malnutrition affecting more than one in three children in these countries, the inaction of the international community constitutes a serious violation of duties related to the right to food,” reaffirmed De Schutter. International law requires states in a position to offer aid to provide them immediately, when lives are in danger ».

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