FEATURED PHOTOS AND STORIES

Monday:  October 6, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

HUM HUMOR

"CLIMATE CHANGE: EVERYWHERE"

CARTOON: Peter Broelman, Australia/BROELMAN.com.au) "HILLARY ROUND THE WORLD"

(CARTOON: Taylor Jones/Politicalcartoons.com)

"HOW THE MIGHTY FALL"

(CARTOON: Michael Ramirez/Weekly Standard)

COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES
WORLD CLOCKS
   
San Marino     Mongolia
   
Vancouver     Ghana
"THE GIRL EFFECT" - VIDEO

Advertisement

 

HUM SEARCH
@HUMNEWS ON TWITTER

`SUPPORT-A-REPORTER'

 Follow Me on Pinterest  Folo us on Pinterest.

Read some exciting news about our founder and FFI, here: http://bit.ly/12GJyXs

Are you a Global Citizen?Join us on GlobalCitizen.org to help end extreme poverty.

TRANSLATE HUMNEWS

THE HUM - OUR DAILY EMAIL OF WORLD HEADLINES
MY HUMPLANET

Do you have your eye on the world? Help us expand the global perspective and tell the stories that shape it.  SHARE what's happening locally, globally wherever you are, however you can. Upload your news, videos, pictures & articles HERE & we'll post them on  MY HUM PLANET CONNECT.  Learn something NEWS every day! THX

Advertisement

HUM BOOKS: Focus on FRIENDSHIP
  • Friendship in an Age of Economics: Resisting the Forces of Neoliberalism
    Friendship in an Age of Economics: Resisting the Forces of Neoliberalism
    by Todd May
  • Friends to the End: The True Value of Friendship
    Friends to the End: The True Value of Friendship
    by Bradley Trevor Greive
  • Friendship as a Way of Life: Foucault, AIDS, and the Politics of Shared Estrangement
    Friendship as a Way of Life: Foucault, AIDS, and the Politics of Shared Estrangement
    by Tom Roach
HUM SOCIAL GOOD

Learn more and join us here!

HUMNEWS SOCIAL MEDIA

  Look for HUMNEWS in the News Section of PULSE @www.pulse.me. For iPad, iPhone & Android-recently launched on deck for Samsung’s Galaxy tab.

Advertisement

HUM TWITTER FEEDS
10000 Women 9/11 9-11 92Y ABC News Abdel Futuh Abdoulaye Wade abductions Abidjan Abuja abyei Acapulco ACS Action Against Hunger ADB Adivasi Adjara adolescents Afghanistan Africa Africa Fashion Week Africa Human Development Report African Wax AFRICOM agriculture agrochemical Ahmad Ashkar Ai Weiwei aid Aid Effectiveness aid work aid workers AIDS Air Canada Air France airlines Aisha Gaddafi Alain Juppe Alan Fisher Alassane Ouattara Albania Albanians Alexandria Algeria Alina Vrejoiu Alliance of Small Island States al-Qaeda Amama Mbaba Amazon American Samoa Americas Amina Filali Amnesty International Amr Moussa ANC Andaman Islands Andes Andorra Angelina Jolie angola Anguilla Anna Hazare Ansar Dine Antarctica Antigua & Barbuda Antonio Guterres Antonio Patriota apartheid Apple Arab Spring Aral Sea Arctic Argentina Armenia Art Aruba ascetism ASEAN ASEM Asia Asia Pacific Asia Society Asian Development Bank Asylum Asylum-seekers Augusto Pinochet Aung San Suu Kyi Aurora Borealis Australia Autism Azawad Azerbaijan baby trafficking Baghdad Bahamas Bahrain Balkans Balthasar Garzon Baluchistan Ban Ki-moon Bangalore Bangkok BANGLADESH Barack Obama Barbados Bashar Assad Bashir Bashir al-Assad bats Beijing belarus Belgium BELIZE Belo Monte Benghazi Benin Berlusconi Bermuda Bettina Borgfeld Beyonce Bhutan Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation BILL GATES Bill McKibben bio fuel Bishkek Bitter Seeds black jails Boko Haram Bolivia Bono books Bosco Ntaganda Bosnia Bosnia-Herzegovina Botswana Bouthaina Kamel BRAC Brazil Brazilian government Brian Williams BRICS Britain British Indian Ocean Territory British Indian Territory British Virgin Islands broadband Bron Villet Bruce Springsteen Brunei Brunei Darussalam Bruno Pellaud Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Business Cairo Cambodia Cameroon Campesino Campesinos sin Terra Canada cancer Cape Town Cape Verde Carbon CARE Caribbean CARICOM Carlos Enrigue Garcia Gonzalez Carlos Travassos Cartagena Casablanca Catherine Ashton Catholic Relief Services Cayman Islands CBS Central Africa Central African Republic Central America Central Asia CGI Chad Charles Feeney Chernobyl Child Labor child labour child marriage child soldiers Children chile China China's Communist Party Chinese farmers Chocolate cholera Cholpan Nogoibaeva Christiane Amanpour Christianity Christmas Island CIDA CItigroup Citizen Ciudad Jarez climate climate change Clinton CLMV Countries cluster munitions CNN Cocos Island coffee Colombia Columbia University Commission for Africa Committee on World Food Security Committee To Protect Journalists commodities Commonwealth community-based organizations Comoros conflict Congo Congolese conservation consumer Contas River Contraception Cook Islands COP17 corruption Costa Rica Cote D'Ivoire cotton Council on Foreign Relations coup Cover The Night CPJ credit Crime Crimes Against Humanity crisis Croatia Cuba culture cyclone Cyprus Dadaab Dakar Damon Runyon Dan Lashof Dan Toole Darfur David Bernet David Von Kittelberger DDenmark Dear Kara Delhi democracy Democratic Republic of Congo demonstrations Dengue Fever Denmark dennis fentie Department of State depression Deraa Desmond Tutu developing countries development Diabetes Dilma Rousseff Disaster Risk disasters discrimination disease Diwali Djibouti Doctors without Borders Dominica Dominican Republic Dominique Strauss-Kahn DPKO DPRK Dr. Judy Dr. Judy Kuriansky Dr. Mark Welch Dr. William Gray DRC DRINKS drought Drug war Drugs Dubai Duncan McCargo Earth Hour Earthquake East Africa East Timor Easter Island Eastern Europe ECHO economy ECOSOC ECOWAS Ecuador Education Egypt Eid Eirene El Alto EL SALVADOR El Trabajo de Crecer Election elections electricity Elizabeth Okoro Ellen Johnson SIrleaf Emerging emerging markets energy Energy4All enough project environment Environmental Defense Fund equality Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia ethnic cleansing EU Eurasia EurasiaNet Europe European Union expats explosion Facebook Falkland Islands famine FAO FARC farmers Farming Faroe Islands FASHION Father Wismick Jean Charles Federated States of Micronesia Feeding America Felipe Calderon Femicide Fernando Lugo Festival FGM FIFA Fiji Fiji Islands Films finance Finland flood floods food food crisis food security Forbes Ford Foundation foreign aid foreign assistance foreign correspondents club of China Foreign Policy Forest Whitaker Foxconn France FRENCH GUIANA French Polynesia fuel Future G20 G8 Gabon Gabriel Elizondo Gaddafi Gambia Gandhi Ganges River Gangs Gao Gauteng Gaza Gbagbo GCC GDP Geena Davis Gender Genetically Modified Food Geneva Genocide George Clooney Georgia Germany Ghana Giants of Broadcasting Gibraltar Girl Effect Girls Giving Pledge Gladstone Harbour Glenn Ashton Global Compact Global Digital Solidarity Fund global food prices Global Fund Global Health Global Malaria Program Globalhealth Globalization GMO's GMO's India Golden Globes Goma Good Samaritan Center Goodluck Jonathan Google grassroots organizations Greece Greed Greenland Greg Mortenson Grenada GRIST GRULAC Guadeloupe Guam Guantanamo Guarani Guatemala Gucci Guinea Gulf of Aden GUYANA Habitat For Humanity Haiti Half the Sky Halloween Hamadoun-Toure Hamid Karzai Happiness Haze health Heglig Helen Wang Hershey hhuman rights Hillary Clinton Hindu HIV HIV/AIDS HIVAIDS Hoffman Hollywood Hollywood Foreign Press Association homosexuality Honduras hookah Horn of Africa Hotel Housing HSBC Hu Jintao Hubble Telescope Hugo Chavez Hult Global Case Challenge HUM Human Impact Institute human rights Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch Film Festival human trafficking Human Unlimited Media Humanitarian humanitarian work HUMmingbirdz Hunger hurricane Hurricane Rina IAEA IAVI Ibrahim Azim ICC Iceland ICG ICRC IHL ILO IMF immigrants Immigration improved cook stoves Imran Garda India Indian Ocean Indians Indigenous Indonesia inequality information infrastructure Innocence of Muslims Innovation INSI International Aid international community International Criminal Court International Crisis Group international development International Human Rights Day International Labour Organization International Maritime Board International Red Cross Internet Internews Interpol investing investment Invisible Children IO IOC IOM IPad IPhone Iran Iraq IRC Ireland irrigation Islam Islamabad Islamic Broadcasting Union Islamic Republic of Iran Islamists Islamophobia Islands Israel Italy ITC ITU Ivory Coast IWD Jamaica Japan Jarvis Island Jason Russell Je Yang Camp Jerusalem Jerusalem Post Jezebel Jim Rogers Jody Williams Johannesburg John McCain John Prendergast JOIDES Resolution Jordan Jose Carlos Meirelles Jose Graziano Da Silva Joseph Kabila Joseph Kony journalism journalists Joyce Banda Jr Judy Kuriansky Julia Gillard Kachin State Kah Walla Kaingang Kano Karachi Karen Attiah Karl Marx Kashmir Kazakhstan kenya Kenya Airways kgb Khaled Said Kidal Kigali Kim Jong-il King Mswati Kiribati Koror Kosovo Kurdistan Workers' Party Kurds Kuwait Kyoto Treaty Kyrgyzstan La Nina Labuje camp Lagos landmines Laos Las Vegas latin america Latvia Laurent Gbagbo Laurie Garrett LDCs Lebanon Leslie Lane Lesotho Lesser Antilles Leyla Qasim LGBT Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Literacy Liu Changlong Liuxiazhuang London London Stock Exchange Louise Arbour LRA LTTE lukasenka LUNCH Luxembourg lybia M23 Macau Macedonia Madagascar Maggie Padlewska Maha Kumbh Mela Mahatma Gandhi Mahmoud Abbas Mahmoud Ahmadinejad malaria Malawi Malaysia maldives Mali malnutrition Malvinas Islands Manuel Zelaya Margaret Chan Marie Claire Marina Cue marine Mark Fitzpatrick Marrakesh Marshall Islands Martin Indyk Martin Luther King Martinique Marwan Bishara Mary Robinson MASERU Mashable Mastercard Foundation maternal health mauritania Mauritius Max Frisch Mayotte MDG Summit MDGs MDG's media Melanesia Melanesian Spearhead Group Memorial Day Memphis Mental Health Mercy Corps Mexican Red Cross mexico Mia Farrow Micha Peled Michael Bociurkiw Michelle Funk Micronesia micronutrient initiative micronutrients Middle East migrants migration Mike Hanna millennium development goals Mine Ban Treaty mining Misogyny Misrata Miss Universe Mississippi river Miyagi MLK Mogadishu Mohamed Cheikh Biadilah Mohammad Nasheed Mohammad Waheed Hassan Moldova Money Mongolia Mongolian Stock Exchange Monsanto Montenegro MONTSERRAT Morocco Mothers Mozambique Mr. Gay World MSF Mswati Mt. Merapi Muammar Gaddafi Mubarak Muhammed Munduruku Murder Musharraf Muslim Brotherhood Mustapha Erramid Myanmar MYUGANDA NAB Nahru Nairobi Namibia NASA Natalie Billon national congress party National Congress Party (NCP) National Democratic Force National Science Foundation NATO Natural Resources Defense Fund Nauru NBC News Nelson Mandella NEMA Nepal Netherlands Antilles Nevada New Caledonia New Jersey New York New Zealand NGO nicaragua Nicholas Kristof Nick Popow Niergai Nigel Fisher Niger Nigeria Nigerian elections Nike Nike Foundation Niue Nobel Nobel Women's Initiative Nokia Non-Aligned Movement North Africa North Kivu North Korea Northern Mexico Norway not on our watch Nuclear nuclear power plant Nutrition NYC OAS Obama OccupyNigeria Ocean Ocean Health Index oceans OCED OCHA OECD OHCHR Ohrid Framework Agreement OIC Oil Olena Sullivan OLPC Olympics Oman Omar al-Bashir Omar Suleiman One Laptop Per Child One Village Planet-Women's Development Initiative Oprah Organization of American States Organization of Islamic Countries Osama bin Laden OSCE Ouattara OXFAM Oxi P-5 Pacific Pacific Institute of Public Policy Pacific Island Forum Pacific Small Island Developing States Pakistan Palau Palestine Palestinian Liberation Organization Palestinians Palocci Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Parana Park Won Soon Paul Giannone Paul Kagame Paul Martin PDP Peace Peacekeepers Peacekeeping PEACEMEAL PEPFAR Perspective Peru philanthropy Philippines Pilay Piracy Pirates Pitcairn PKK PNG Pokuaa Busumru-Banson polio politics pollution Pope Benedict population Pork Port-au-Prince Porto Alegre Portugal poverty President Asif Zardari President Bingu wa Mutharika President Joseph Kabila President Karzai President Lee Myung-bak President Thein Sein Press Freedom Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski Prime Minister Shekh Hasina Wajed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Prince Zeid protests Proview Puerto Rico Putin Qatar Quetta rainforest Ramadan rape Rarotonga Ray Chambers RC Palmer Red Cross Reduction referendum refugees religion remittances Reporters Without Borders Reproductive Rights Republic of Congo Republic of South Sudan Reunion Island Richard Branson Richard Parsons Richard Pithouse Richmond Rick Steves Rio Branco Rio de Janeiro Rio Grande do Sul RIO+20 Robert Mugabe Robinah Alambuya Romania Ronit Avi Room to Read Rousseff Rowan Jacobsen Roxy Marosa Royal Air Maroc Russell Daisey Russia Rwanda S-5 SACMEQ sacsis Sahel Sahel NOW Saint Helena Island Salafists Saliem Fakir Salva Kiir Salvador Dali Samoa San Marino sanctions Sanitation Saudi Arabia Save the Children Savvy Traveller Scenarios From the Sahel ScenariosUSA security Security Council Senegal Senetable Seoul Serbia Sergio Vieira de Mello Seth Berkley sex trafficking Sexism sexual abuse Seychelles Sharia Sharks Shashi Tharoor Shirley Wessels shisha Shreeya Sinha Shrein Dewani Sierra Leone Sindh Singapore Skype Slovakia Slovenia smoking Social Good Summit social development social media Solar Solar Panels SolarAid Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South America South China Sea South Kordofan South Korea South Pacific South Sudan Southeast Asia Southern Kordofan Southern Sudan South-South cooperation South-Sudan Southwest Farm Press Soweto Soya Spain SPLA sports Sri Lanka St . Vincent & The Grenadines St Lucia St. Kitts and Nevis St. Maarten St. Vincent and the Grenadines Stand Up For Peace Project starvation statelessness steel StopRape Students Sub-Saharan Africa sudan sudan people's liberation movement Summitt of the Americas Superstorm Sandy Surfing SURINAME Sustainable development Svalbard Svalbard & Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syria Tahiti Taiwan Tajikistan Taliban Tanzania technology Ted Turner Tehran Terena terror Thailand Thaksin The Arab Spring The Bahamas The Caribbean The Carter Center The Elders The Enough Project The Gambia The Hunger Games The Marshall Islands the Middle East The Netherlands The Ocean Project the Philippines The Republic of South Sudan The Surfrider Foundation The Whistleblower theatre Thein Sein Themrise Khan Three Cups of Tea Tibet Tiger Tigers Tikki Pang Tim Hetherington Timbuktu Timor-Leste Tobacco Togo Toilets Tokelau Tom Schelling Tonga Tony Lake Toronto tourism trade Trademarks trafficking travel Trinidad & Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Tripoli tsunami Tuareg Tuberculosis Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks & Caicos Tuvalu Twitter Typhoon Bopha Typhoon Pablo UAE Uganda UK Ukraine UN UN Clean Development Mechanism UN Food and Agriculture Organization UN Foundation UN Peacekeepers UN Security Council un techo para mi pais UN Women UNAIDS UNCTAD UNDP UNEP UNESCO UNFCC UNFPA UNHabitat UNHCR unicef Union Solidarity and Development Party UNISDR United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United Nations United States United to End Genocide University of South Florida UNOCI UNRWA urbanization Uruguay US US Peace Corps US Supreme Court US Troops USA Uzbekistan Vancouver Vandana Shiva Vanuatu Vanuatu. Fiji Venezuela Vestergaard Vice President Joyce Banda Victoria Hazou Vidal Vega Vietnam Vii VIIPhotography Viktor Yanukovych Vladimir Putin Vladivostok Vlisco Vodafone volcano Walmart War Water West Africa West Bank Western Sahara WFP WHO wimax Wine Woman Women Women's Economic Opportunity World World AIDS Day World Bank World Cup World Economic Forum World Food Day World Food Prize World Food Programme World Health Assembly world hunger World Refugee Day WorldCup WTO WWF Xi Jinping Xingu Yemen Youssou N'dour Youth Youth Olympics YouTube Yoweri Museveni Yukon Yulia Tymoshenko Zambia Zimbabwe Zuma

HUM QR CODE

Entries in drought (9)

Monday
May142012

Historic Brazil, Mexico Droughts Cause Distress, Economic Conflict (REPORT) 

(Video IBNTimes)

(HN, 5/14/12) - In Brazil the worst drought in 30 years is underway in the country's  poor north-eastern region, destroying crops and prompting officials to limit water use in the 266 districts that have declared a state of emergency.  Lakes have dried up, forcing thousands of families who live in remote areas to walk miles in order to pick up water.

The agriculture secretary in the town of Maracas, Gilmar Rocha, said the drought problems have become constant in the region.  "The local neighborhood of Porto Alegre, is located close to the Contas' river, and we use the river's water in our homes. But the river is drying up and the problems are constant now," he said.

As a result of the drought, ranchers have been struggling to feed and water cattle while farmers have been left to watch their crops shrivel into the dusty soil.  Forty-two-year-old Jose Oliveira de Sousa, who works at a raft station in the district of Maracas, said many of his colleagues have been left unemployed as a result of the drought.

"Everyone is going through a big crisis because of the drought. Our jobs have been taken away from us, from the fishermen to the farmers to the boat and raft operators," he said.

According to weather experts, the drought may last up to October. The drought in the Southern hemisphere is caused by La Nina, which is cooling equatorial Pacific waters.

- By Marisa Krystian originally for IBNTimes

(PHOTO: A northern Mexico river location/El Universal) In Mexico a cold and dry winter in the north of the country has exacerbated conditions there with reports of widespread famine, escalating food prices and extreme dry conditions that have forced the Mexican government to truck drinking water to nearly a half million residents in remote villages across six northern states where lakes and ground wells have run dry.

In addition, Mexican aid workers have been offering food rations throughout the winter to more than 2 million residents who are desperately clinging to life in a region that is experiencing its driest period on record. 

The drought is credited with destroying some 7.5 million acres of cultivable land in 2011 and is responsible for $1.18 billion in lost harvests and has destroyed about 60,000 head of cattle and weakened 2 million more causing a substantial spike in food prices.

Officials say acute food and grain shortages caused Mexico’s imports to soar 35% last year and they could go even higher in 2012 as conditions worsen.

Dr. Mark Welch, grain marketing economist with Texas AgriLife Extension in College Station, says while Texas is not a big corn producing state, he thinks shortages for grain and food corn will cause many US growers to look hard at market potential in Mexico in the months ahead.

“We have been watching corn imports trend higher in Mexico over the last 25 years, but the recent spike related to the drought there is significant as it is not just yellow corn that is in demand, but white corn for food,” Welch says.

In Mexico the shortage of white corn is marked by higher food prices and a shortage in tortillas, a food staple for Mexican families.

(MAP: El Universal) “And this is not the first time we have seen an extreme shortage. The last time was in 2008 when corn shortages caused a tortilla crisis that resulted in riots and price limit controls by federal authorities,” he added.

Welch says even if drought conditions improve in Northern Mexico over the summer months, the trend for white corn imports are expected to trend upward.

“The demand for grain corn may be directly associated with the drought in Northern Mexico. Once conditions improve there we will see Mexican grain corn imports leveling off. But white corn imports have been trending up for several years, and it could be that a growing population base is driving demand - and I expect that to continue,” he says.

Meanwhile, Mexico continues to struggle with more than just grain shortages as a result of dry conditions. The 2011 price of beans has doubled in just over a year, and consumers are feeling the pinch in other food staples. On a whole, prices for basic foods—including beans, tortillas, vegetable oil, meat and dairy - rose 45% in 2011, and since October last year prices have exploded another 35%.

While the situation is most dire in the impoverished areas of the north, metropolitan areas including highly industrialized Monterrey are also feeling the squeeze. Recently the Mexican Red Cross estimated that some two million people are chronically hungry in the state of Nuevo Leon.

The crisis is becoming a political thorn in the side of Mexican President Felipe Calderon. While Mexico grows substantial food crops for export to the US - some $21 billion last year - it is struggling to grow enough for its resident population, a problem some argue is being driven by greed from Mexico’s upper class.

Economists say Mexico will continue to struggle with becoming more sustainable and self-sufficient, but drought conditions will continue to complicate those efforts until substantial rains fall.

-- A version of this article by Logan Hawkes appeared in the Southwest Farm Press

Saturday
Sep102011

Horn of Africa Drought Case Load Jumps to Over 13 Million People (NEWS BRIEF)

Somali refugee children at the registration centre in Dolo Ado, southern Ethiopia. CREDIT: WFP/Natasha Scripture(HN, September 10, 2011) - As the drought in the Horn of Africa spreads, the number of people affected has jumped to 13.3 million people, including more than 840,000 refugees.

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance was previously pegged by the UN at 12.4 million in four countries, Elisabeth Byrs of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told a media briefing in Geneva monitored by HUMNEWS.

She said that boosting the numbers is the conflict in the Blue Nile State of eastern Sudan, which has displaced close to 20,000 Sudanese refugees into Ethiopia in early September. Humanitarian agencies are currently allocating some of their resources and personnel to this new emergency.

In Djibouti, increasing food prices are having an increasingly serious impact on the country, Byrs said. The country imports 95 per cent of its food, and about 146,000 people are in need of food assistance in the north-western regions of the country.

To be sure, the drought and food crisis has caused massive displacement in the worst-hit country - Somalia. UNHCR estimates that more than 917,000 Somalis now live as refugees in the four neighbouring countries: Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen. Approximately one in every three was forced to flee this year alone. Altogether, more than 1.4 million Somalis were displaced within the country. This makes a third of Somalia's estimated 7.5 million people displaced.

Analysts blame the convergence of civil unrest, climate chance and rising food prices as the cause of the ongoing crisis.

Despite heavy media coverage of the crisis, the UN's Horn of Africa Appeal is still in need of substantial funding. Byrs said it is 63 per cent funded with $1.56 billion received out of the $2.5 billion requested. 

Christiane Berthiaume of the World Food Programme said since the beginning of July, the UN agency has assisted some 7.4 million people and that it is ramping up to reach more than 9.6 million people over the coming weeks. In Somalia, WFP is focusing its efforts over the next months on providing badly needed food assistance to 1.9 million people in areas to which WFP had access. So far the organization had assisted close to 1 million people. 

WFP has received $385 million in announced contributions, its budget shortfall for the Horn of Africa appeal for the next six months is US$215 million.

- UN, HUMNEWS staff

Wednesday
Aug312011

Shame on You: Drought, Famine & the Failure of International Aid! (PERSPECTIVE)

by Rachel Zedeck 

At a UNICEF-supported feeding centre in East Africa, a weary mother pauses after her baby received emergency therapeutic food. CREDT: M Bociurkiw(HN, August 31, 2011) During this weeks’ hash a Director at the German Red Cross said to me, “The drought was so inconvenient this year.  We were all on annual leave.  Do people expect me to give up my holiday.”  After swallowing some vomit, I started to reflect on exactly how this humanitarian disaster has been allowed to escalate to such an extreme.  More and more, my nausea has been induced by the world of international aid; in particular the inaction of the Red Cross coupled with the pandering of World Food Programme, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, Oxfam and the list goes on.  These organizations (whether non-profit or UN agency) literally have every means available to understand impending drought and insidious threat of famine.   I focus on three. 

First, weather is predictable. That’s right. In Kenya and in many regions of Sub Saharan Africa we have historic and predictive weather mapping. Even in darkest Arica, rain isn’t magic.  Second, how long have NGOs been operating here?  What happened to common sense? Every year this region suffers through a drought of varying intensity and subsequent adversity.  2010 was the first break from drought in 7 years while Kenya experienced more than a billion dollars in economic loss in 2009.  So while this may be the worst drought in the last 60 years, this is not a new story! Finally, why was no one talking about preventative measures?  I was in Nairobi and can’t remember one campaign speaking publically about impending drought.   Mr. Abbas Gulet, the Head of Kenya’s Red Cross, head of the region’s only non-profit Superbrand should be most ashamed.  Not only responsible for one of the largest humanitarian missions in the world, he is ethnically Kenyan theoretically giving him even greater insight into how is organization’s $30+ million annual budget. Instead of answering what they should have been doing, I can tell you what the community as a whole isn’t doing.   It’s actually worse than the mismanagement following Katrina. 

First, neither the public, private, or NGO sectors are educating Kenyans about drought, better water management or irrigated crops. Ironic because irrigation is a key component in Kenya’s 2030 Vision for the country’s strategic development.  With the unprecedented use of mobile phones and content (ICT for Development) in Africa, educating and supporting millions of people in rural Kenyan isn’t just a fantasy. Considering the UN seeks $16.9 Billion USD for emergency relief let alone campaigns like Kenyans for Kenya, raising funds to purchase food that doesn’t exist.  Instead we could have sent a series of 10 sms’ to every Kenyan citizen for less than $6 million.   Another $100 million (or much more) could have been allocated to low interest loans to help farmers purchase drip (gravity fed) irrigation and trained them on how to install, maintenance and store excess crops for drought season.  Guess what, food aid is still food and needs to be grown which means farming.  

There isn’t a simple answer to food security and we can’t end drought.  Instead, Kenya and its neighbors need to grow and store more food while eliminating crop losses. This translates into a combination of hard work complimented by agriculture innovation, affordable agriculture finance, community outreach and expansion of existing road networks. NO overnight solutions but practical, sustainable and scalable.   It is time for an evolution; the UN and NGOs must recognize their chronic failures and share leadership with the commercial sector able to offer proactive and practical strategies for the future of humanitarian disaster.  

- Rachel Zedeck is Managing Director of the Backpack Farm Agriculture Program, an internationally recognized social enterprise in Nairobi, Kenya exclusively supporting smallholder farmers with access to ecologically friendly training and packages of green agri-tech believing “Africans can feed Africa”  thru the power of multi-functional farming impacting social, economic and ecological domains.

Sunday
Jul242011

Horn of Africa Famine 'Immoral' - UN (REPORT - UPDATED)

A Somali woman arrives at a refugee camp with her infant. UNICEF has called the ongoing famine and drought as a children catastrophe. CREDIT: FAO(HN, - UPDATED July 25, 2011) - A senior UN official has described the ongoing famine in parts of Somalia as "immoral."

Cristina Amaral, the head of emergency operations in Africa for the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), who has been raising the alarm on the spreading drought in the Horn of Africa since last November, is calling for long-term investment to help farmers resist droughts and international intervention to bring peace to war-torn Somalia.

"When we have a declaration of famine in the 21st century, we should consider this immoral," Amaral was quoted as saying in an interview.

She made the remarks on the eve of an emergency meeting today (Monday) in Rome to address the escalating crisis in the Horn of Africa and mobilize international support. FAO's 191 member countries, other UN agencies and international organizations, development banks and non-governmental organizations are attending.

Livestock carcasses mark turn of this drought from bad to deadly in Wajir, Kenya. Credit: Josette Sheeran/WFPAccess to war-torn Somalia is crucial to dealing with the crisis, Amaral said.  "Without access to south Somalia, we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg — those refugees arriving in Kenya and Ethiopia," Amaral said. "There are many more — we estimate 3.7 million — that need emergency assistance," she added.

Last week, the UN declared a famine in two parts of southern Somalia: the Bakool agropastoral livelihood zones and all areas of Lower Shabelle.

This morning (Monday), FAO chief, Jacques Diouf, said nothing short of "massive" action will save the millions of people at risk.

"The catastrophic situation demands massive and urgent international aid," he said.

The head of the World Food Programme (WFP), Josette Sheeran, who just visited three drought-affected countries, including Somalia, said the Rome-based agency is currently reaching about 1.5 million Somalis with emergency food assistance, including several hundred thousand in Mogadishu, the capital. However access is still difficult: WFP alone has lost 14 staff since 2008 in the war-torn country.

Sheeran said the long, dangerous trip out of the famine regions in southern Somalia is claiming many lives, particularly of children too young and weakened by malnutrition to survive the journey. She described the condition of children as "the worst I have ever seen."

She said: “Over half the women I talked to had to leave children to die, or had children die” during their journeys, Sheeran said.  “These are becoming roads of death.”

“In the Horn (of Africa), we could lose a generation. Those that survive could be affected deeply,” she said.

According to the FAO, famine is classified using a tool called the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification. according to three main criteria: severe lack of food access for large populations, acute malnutrition rates exceeding 30 percent of the population and Crude Death Rate exceeding 2 people per 10,000 population per day. Currently in some parts of Bakool and Lower Shabelle acute malnutrition tops 50 percent and death rates exceed six per 10,000 population per day.

A rare combination of conflict and insecurity, limited access for humanitarian organizations, successive harvest failures and a lack of food assistance have jeopardized an entire population in southern Somalia, FAO says. The country has suffered war on and off since 1991.Innovation on the front-lines of hunger: Somali NGO brings water to displaced people in donkey-cart. Credit: Josette Sheeran/WFP

The international community requires around $1 billion to deal with the crisis. The FAO is appealing for $120 million to respond to the drought in the Horn of Africa and provide agricultural emergency assistance.

The current crisis affects the whole Horn of Africa region including the northern part of Kenya and southern parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Karamoja Region of Uganda where large areas are classified as in a state of humanitarian emergency.

Tuesday
Jul192011

UN To Declare Famine in Horn of Africa - CBC (REPORT)

Nomadic girls and women fill containers with water from a large puddle in the middle of the road near the town of Wajid, in the southern Bakool Region of Somalia. CREDIT: UNICEF(HN, July 19, 2011 - UPDATED 1815GMT) - The United Nations is poised to declare a famine in parts of Somalia, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported late last night.

While a famine is expected to be declared in Somalia Wednesday in Nairobi, CBC reported, as many as 12 million people are impacted in the unstable country, as well as Kenya, Ethiopia, and neighbouring countries.

UN sources in Kenya confirmed that a famine would be declared at any time and that all agencies were gearing up for the upgrading of the crisis.

The drought is the worst the region has seen in about six decades, raising memories of the devastating Ethiopian famine in 1984-1985, in which more than one million people died.

CBC reported that food insecurity has already reached emergency levels — one level below famine. "Famine/catastrophe" is the worst-case scenario on a five-level scale used to gauge food security.

Fresh details of the situation in the region are expected this morning during the regularly-scheduled UN media briefing in Geneva.

The UN employs several indicators to declare a famine, including acute malnutrition in more than 30 per cent of children, at least two deaths per 10,000 people every day and access to less than four litres of water a day. Large-scale displacement of people, civil strife and pandemic illness are also taken into consideration.

At a UN media briefing in Geneva today monitored by HUMNEWS, Paul Spiegel, Chief of Section, Public Health, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), seemed to suggest a famine would be declared imminently.

Spiegel said that the situation in Dolo Ado - a transit camp in southern Ethiopia on the Kenya-Somali border - was very dire, and he had been taken aback by what he had seen there. A new camp called Kobe, where the new arrivals are placed, has seen an extremely high mortality rate of 7.4 deaths per 10,000 people/day in June. The baseline for Sub-Saharan Africa was 0.5 and an emergency is generally declared at greater than or equal to 1 death. The preponderance of the deaths are among under-five children.

The malnutrition rates, one of the major causes of death, is extremely high. The severe malnutrition rate was 26.8 per cent in June, an extremely rare and very high finding, Spiegel said.

Somalia has been particularly hard hit by the current crisis, with thousands of people fleeing the country every day - at the rate of more than 2,000-a-day into Kenya and Ethiopia. Most of those fleeing are women and children, many clinging to life from acute malnutrition.

"Added to the drought, this is a region which suffers insecurity and conflict, population growth, poverty and over-utilization of land," said Valeria Amos, the UN emergency relief co-ordinator for humanitarian affairs.

Aid groups and UN agencies are calling for more assistance to meet the mounting need. Roughly $835 million US has been received to assist people in the Horn of Africa, but $1 billion more is needed, the UN said. CBC said the United States has been slow in committing funds.

Raouf Mazou, Deputy Director, East Africa and the Horn of Africa Region, UNHCR, said at a media briefing in Geneva today monitored by HUMNEWS that there are definitely not enough resources to respond to the needs. An appeal for about $136 million was issued last week, but so far only about 17 per cent of what was required is available.

Canada has contributed roughly $22 million, but is expected to announce new funding within a week, the CBC's Brian Stewart, a distinguished senior fellow at the Munk School for Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, said.

"Normally Canada is expected to pay up to four per cent of major humanitarian emergencies," he added.

Stewart, who was one of the first journalists to alert the world to the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s, said the key need is to buy sufficient food and water from inside Africa.

"Shipments from abroad take far too long and take away from Africa's own potential to deliver good and fast supplies," he noted. A UNICEF official said one of the main constraints to helping women and children in Somalia is restrictions on access, caused by the ongoing unrest.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said today its Executive Director, Josette Sheeran, is leaving for the region today, first visiting Ethiopia before proceeding to Kenya and Somalia.

Saturday
Jul162011

Horn of Africa Drought Threatens Millions (VIDEO REPORT)

Sunday
Jul102011

As Drought Worsens Pressure Increases on Kenya to Open More Space for Somali Refugees (REPORT)

(HN, UPDATED JULY 11, 2011 1850GMT) - Kenya is struggling to cope with the thousands of starving Somalis crossing over the border as the East African country came in for criticism for refusing to open more space for refugees.

While Kenya has accepted hundreds of thousands of Somalis - fleeing hunger and unrest in their own country - the United Nations and other agencies are pleading for more camps to relieve severe over-crowding at the congested Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya, with half-a-million people the largest of its kind in the world. 

The aid organization, CARE, says that more than 66,000 refugees have been registered in Daadab since the start of 2011, and is now at more than 300% capacity. An empty facility adjacent to Dadaab, constructed with donor money, is sitting empty as the Kenyan Government mulls over the situation.

Somali refugees wait to get water in Ifo camp. Long lines and difficulty getting ample water is a growing problem in Dadaab due to the growing numbers of Somalis fleeing to Kenya. CREDIT: UNHCRMeanwhile, with upwards of 12 million people affected by the drought in the region, the UN is now classifying the drought as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

"I have no doubt that in today's world, Somalia corresponds to the worst humanitarian disaster. I have never seen in a refugee camp people coming in such desperate conditions," said Antonio Guterres, the head of UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency.

UNHCR estimates that a quarter of Somalia’s 7.5 million population is now either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees.

Said UNHCR: "The Somali refugees are arriving in an appalling state of health, dehydrated and severely malnourished, especially children. Malnutrition rates among newly-arriving refugee children under the age of five range from 40 to 50 per cent."

Aside from Kenya and Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti are also severely affected.

Guterres expressed concern for the plight of children. "These people are arriving in awful conditions, especially the children - almost half of which are arriving with acute or moderate malnutrition...Women are exhausted after having walked for two weeks in some cases."

Guterres is expected to meet with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki early this week, however the government is expected to cite national security for its reluctance to accept an unlimited number of Somali refugees. (In the aftermath of Al Qaeda's 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, the US pressed the Kibaki Government to stem the flow of Islamic extremists from Somalia).

Further north, about 1,700 Somalis are arriving daily in southeast Ethiopia. Today the country said it needed $398 million to help cope with the drought.

"It is estimated that a total of 4.5 million people will require humanitarian assistance during the remaining period of the current year from July to December 2011," Agriculture Minister Mitiku Kassa told reporters.At a press conference in Nairobi Saturday: Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

The European Union on Wednesday announced it would provide 5.67 million euros to help the millions of people affected by the drought - bringing to 70 million euros the bloc's assistance to the drought crisis.

But the UN said donations are at less than the half way mark for its appeal.

Said OCHA chief Valerie Amos at a press conference Saturday: " We will need to increase our efforts in all these countries to get to those who most need our help. And we will have to ask our donors to do more. They have been generous with Ethiopia and I hope that that generosity will continue and extend to the neighbouring countries."

- HUMNews Staff 

Friday
Jul082011

Drought, Unrest Pushing Millions Over Brink as World Averts Gaze (REPORT)

The horrifying face of hunger: This infant was brought by her mother to an acute malnutrition centre in West Africa. CREDIT: HUMNEWS(HN, July 8, 2011 - UPDATED 1900GMT) - Emergency camps in Kenya and Ethiopia - themselves suffering from horrific drought conditions - are receiving up to 2,000 Somali migrants-a-day as they flee unrest and dry conditions in their places of origin.

The prediction by the UN refugee agency - UNHCR - that the crisis on the Horn of Africa could become a human catastrophe of unimaginable proportions appears to become more of a reality by the hour.

UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres says three out of every 10,000 refugees die each day - three times the emergency level.

As many as 12 million people have been pushed into a fight for survival, says the aid agency Oxfam.

"Large numbers of lives could soon be lost if nothing is done. It is currently the worst food crisis on the planet," says Oxfam.

The countries most seriously affected are Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Fresh images from Kenya and Ethiopia show exhausted mothers cradling their dying, dehydrated infants after long journeys by foot into overcrowded camps.

This is very much a children's catastrophe. UNICEF estimates that more than two million young children are malnourished and in need of urgent life-saving action. Alarmingly, half-a-million of those children are facing imminent life-threatening conditions.

With arrivals being clocked by the hundreds each hour, aid agencies say they can hardly cope with the rapid influx of migrants.

Typically, severely malnourished infants are difficult to treat on the spot as their ravaged bodies cannot accept food and live-saving treatment needs to be provided in steps.

And as BBC correspondent Ben Brown pointed out, some mothers with dying babies refuse to go to emergency points for fear of leaving their other children behind.

In an ominous admission, the US Government said today that the drought in the region is likely to worsen by the end of the year.

Some of the medications and vitamins used to treat acute malnutrition. CREDIT: HUMNEWS"Our experts...expect the perilous situation in the Horn of Africa to worsen through the end of the year, said Nancy Lindborg, a senior official at the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

"Given limited labour opportunities, the dwindling food stocks, and sky-high cereal prices, many houses cannot put food on the table right now."

UNICEF says global acute malnutrition rates in Northern Kenya are now above 25% but as high as 40% in the Turkana district.

Aid agencies, including UN mainline agencies such as the World Food Programme (WFP), are appealing for tens of millions of dollars in emergency funding. However the main UN appeal is less than half funded.

- HUMNews Staff 

Tuesday
Jul052011

Near Famine Conditions Slamming Horn of Africa Amid Donor Fatigue (REPORT)

At a UNICEF-supported feeding centre in East Africa, a weary mother pauses after her baby received emergency therapeutic food. CREDT: M Bociurkiw(HN, July 6, 2011 -- UPDATED 1820 GMT) - Horrific scenes are being reported by aid workers dealing with the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years.

"A human tragedy of unimaginable proportions" is how the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, described the crisis.

After two years of successive drought, parts of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and neighbouring countries are reeling from near-famine like conditions. It is estimated that as many as 10 million people are affected across the Horn of Africa.

Climate change, rising food prices and violence have conspired to keep food from getting to people in the region.

In a separate development, rebel leaders in Somalia - one of the countries worst affected by the crisis, with about 2.8 million people affected - announced Tuesday they are lifting a two-year-long ban on aid agencies supplying food.

"We have now decided to welcome all Muslim and non-Muslim aid agencies to assist the drought-stricken Somalis in our areas," Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, Al Shabaab spokesman, told a news conference in Mogadishu.

The United Nations has flagged as emergency areas large areas of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti and Somalia.

A HUMNEWS correspondent in Ethiopia reports that despite frequent rains in the capital, Addis Ababa, areas in the far eastern and southern corners are seeing their worst drought for a decade, with some 3.2 million people in need of emergency aid. The correspondent says that Nairobi residents report far less rainfall and increasing power outages.

The Ethiopian economy is particularly vulnerable to climate changes, as almost half of its GDP is generated by the agricultural sector. Just a few years ago, some 14 million Ethiopians stood on the brink of starvation from a killer drought, saved only by massive international aid.

Regional news agencies have broadcast video showing fields covered with dead livestock, and with thousands of hungry people streaming into feeding centres in camps like Dadaab, already the world's largest refugee settlement, which is hosting many people from Somalia.

"Dadaab is a place where life hangs in the balance every single day," reported the BBC's Ben Brown from a refugee camp. "July 2011 and once again this corner of Africa is cursed, teetering on the brink of disaster."

The UN says the situation is classified as a humanitarian emergency but that the situation is deteriorating quickly and could wind up as a famine/catastrophe.

An estimated 1,000 people are entering Ethiopia and Kenya from Somalia every day, according to the UN's Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). It is believed that a quarter of the population has been uprooted.

"We haven't seen the worst of this drought yet," Mohamed Elmi, Minister for Development of Northern Kenya, told The Daily Telegraph. "In Kenya, which is already significantly affected by the drought in Somalia, malnutrition levels are well beyond emergency levels and saving lives is becoming our major focus."

Unfortunately, many aid agencies are struggling with their own financial crisis - with the front line World Food Programme (WFP) being forced to pull out of countries such as Burundi. OCHA says its recent appeal for money is only 40 percent funded.

OCHA chief Baroness Amos has urged donors today to "dig deep" to help the millions affected.A regional feeding centre: in most cases families walk several kilometers to seek emergency feeding for their malnourished children. Cutbacks by WFP at this centre in Burundi means that siblings of ill children no longer receive nutrition. CREDIT: M Bociurkiw

She said: "The scale of the problem is much greater than we had anticipated last year. We need the money very quickly as children and some adults are turning up in refugee camps malnourished."

Complicating the situation for aid agencies in Somalia is a general state of lawlessness and banditry.

- HUMNews Staff

"How can I help?"  - click here or here