Tuesday, May 31, 2011

no money - no eat

This year at least 20 million people are suffering hunger in east Africa. From 2008-2010, the Red Cross launched four international appeals to respond to hunger in the Horn of Africa. However, a Red Cross review, highlights how such repeated large-scale appeals and relief operations are not the answer to addressing people’s food needs in the region. Hunger is a chronic and ongoing humanitarian issue in the Horn of Africa.

Distributing food aid, that is often purchased from abroad, is not usually the best option. Not only does this destabilise local markets, but is also costly and takes time to purchase and distribute. Repeated large-scale emergency appeals have failed to generate significant funds and in the current global financial situation it’s unlikely this will change any time soon.Repeated distributions of food aid every year do not help families get out of poverty – instead they lock them into dependency.

Socialist Banner reads that Mary Atkinson, British Red Cross economic security adviser, says “Most people living in hunger, even farmers, rely on purchasing most of their food. Food is usually available in the market but they cannot afford it, particularly now that food prices are so high. If they had more reliable sources of income, they often wouldn’t need to rely on food aid.” (our emphasis)
Cash is increasingly used as an alternative to food aid as it is easier and quicker to distribute and allows people to buy what they really need while supporting local markets.

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