Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a capitalist failure

Thousands of needless deaths occurred from famine in East Africa last year because the international community failed to heed early warnings. Oxfam and Save the Children say it took more than six months for aid agencies to act on warnings of imminent famine.

"Many donors wanted proof of a humanitarian catastrophe before acting to prevent one,"
the report says. "Sophisticated early warning systems first forecast a likely emergency as early as August 2010, but the full-scale response was not launched until July 2011." By that time it says, "malnutrition rates in parts of East Africa had gone far beyond the emergency threshold and there was high profile media coverage of the crisis"

Between 50,000 and 100,000 people died in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. At one stage during the famine the United Nations estimated that 10 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance.

Oxfam's Chief Executive, Barbara Stocking said "It is shocking that the poorest people are still bearing the brunt of a failure to respond swiftly and decisively."

Save the Children's Chief Executive, Justin Forsyth, said clear warnings had been ignored. "We can no longer allow this grotesque situation to continue; where the world knows an emergency is coming but ignores it until confronted with TV pictures of desperately malnourished children"

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