Sunday, July 31, 2011

Drought is nothing new

Socialist Banner adapted this from here .

No rainfall has hit some places in months. Hundreds of dead bodies can be found on the roads every day; this suggests that people, particularly the young, are abandoned to their fate. The Horn of African is experiencing a great tragedy. However, it should be noted that the cycle of violence in the region and ongoing conflicts have destroyed the infrastructure, thereby exacerbating the impact of the drought. The tragedy is human-made rather than an outcome of natural causes. It is mostly attributable to ongoing wars waged over artificial disputes.

The political systems of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia that remain as legacies of colonial times, and the colonial relations between African nations and Western powers including the US, had in the past reserved their budgets for arms purchase, leaving people to live in abject conditions and suffer from malnutrition and lack of healthcare and infrastructure. Imagine countries where Kalashnikovs are sold freely in markets, but you would not be able to find decent food in the same markets. It is almost impossible to convince Somalia, currently suffering a severe civil war, to reserve funds for construction of infrastructure rather than the purchase of arms.

Drought and food shortages are not new in the Horn of Africa. The people in this region constantly experience such crises. There have been more than 50 food and drought crises in the region since 1984. It should be recalled that the amount of monies spent once the crisis broke out is far more than the funds needed to prevent such a crisis. It is easy to blame the political administrations for their failure to take prior measures despite already being aware of the causes and repercussions of the drought, but this is the reality.

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