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Food Crisis

In the present day world the crisis of food in the whole world has become a burning problem. It is essential that mainly in is connected with the countries of the third world, which are located on the African continent: “This series explores the causes and effects of the world's worst food crisis since the 1970s. A complex combination of poor harvests, competition with biofuels, higher energy prices, surging demand in China and India, and a blockage in global trade is driving food prices up worldwide. Some countries, especially in Africa, are facing an increasingly dire situation while even consumers in wealthy nations are being forced to adjust”. The food problem has become the acute problem for Ethiopia since the 70-s of twentieth century. Another African country – Zimbabwe is also suffering from starvation. Numerous programs supported by United Nations Organization US AID and many othersdoing their best to help the starving countries of Africa, providing humanitarian help.

“Zimbabwe is in the midst of a political and economic crisis. Agreement between the unity government is fragile, and the economy is in tatters, with inflation continuing at a staggering rate. The education and health systems have collapsed, and 10 million people are now living below the poverty line.

While it was once the breadbasket of southern Africa, it now produces only one-third of the grain it needs to feed its own population. More than half — around 65% — of the population urgently need food assistance” (Save the Children, 2009). In the present day situation the government of Zimbabwe is trying to regulate humanitarian help. But the situation is not as good as it should be. According to the BBC investigation in 2002 the regions that did not voted for current President Mugabe were left without humanitarian help. The representatives of opposed movements said that government did not give him a chance to but wheat even according to commercial prices. The staff of Binga city hospitals (which according some suppositions humanitarian help does not reach according to non-official block, regulated by Mugabe adherents) nearly thirty children died during several weeks. Their deaths according to physicians’ data were closely connected with lack of food. At this period grew a number a poisoning deaths. Without ability to get regular supply of food, Zimbabwe citizens ate some roots, some of them turned to be poisonous. Many children did not go to school as their days are occupied by endless search for food. The representatives of charitable organizations say that government tries to control the spreading of humanitarian help in their hands.

“Mercy, seven, collects mulberry leaves to boil and eat. Her mother often goes out begging to try and get something for her family to eat. They usually survive on one cup of mealy meal (ground maize) each day. One-third of all children in Zimbabwe are chronically malnourished, and 10 million people (out of a population of 13 million) live below the poverty line. We’ve been working in Zimbabwe for twenty five years. During the current food crisis, we’re helping families increase their income so they can afford food all year round by providing crops and farming materials and promoting drought-resistant crops. We’re also distributing food to the children and poorest families who need it most. So far we have reached more than 600,000 people, 438,993 of whom are children” (Save the Children, 2009). The information provided by charitable foundation “Save the Children” shows how many it is done, by UNO and other organizations in order to support Zimbabwe to struggle against food Crisis. People should understand that world is much bigger than their city or even country. WE should help and support developing countries and countries of the third world in difficult and scrutinized situations.

“The first of the Millennium Development Goals, set by world leaders at the U.N. summit in 2000, aims to reduce the proportion of hungry people by half by 2015. This was already a major challenge, not least in Africa, where many nations have fallen behind. But we are also facing a perfect storm of new challenges. The prices of basic staples -- wheat, corn, rice -- are at record highs, up 50 percent or more in the past six months. Global food stocks are at historic lows. The causes range from rising demand in major economies” (Ban Ki-Moon, 2008). “LONDON – Keen to show that everyone can play a role in the fight against hunger, an enterprising group of LSE students kicked off their new academic year by grabbing red cups and staging a week-long campus campaign to raise awareness and funds for WFP. “Food is such a basic human right; it’s incredible that there are now a billion hungry people. Ending hunger is within reach for my generation and we are determined to make it happen," said LSE student Isabella Hayward, organiser of the initiative. Isabella planned her campaign with WFP's London Liaison office, arming herself with 10 plastic red cups, a WFP banner and various brochures. Then she set out with her troupe of student volunteers” (Nina Severn for UN WPF, 2009)

“Better known for its recurring famines than for its distinction as Africa’s oldest independent country, Ethiopia suffers from one of the highest malnutrition levels and lowest primary-education enrollment ratios in the world. The agricultural sector, which accounts for half of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), 60 percent of its exports, and 80 percent of all employment, suffers from frequent droughts and poor farming practices. The country’s poverty-stricken economy has taken a hit in recent years from historically low coffee prices—Ethiopia’s most lucrative export—and a costly war with Eritrea in 1998-2002. According to international aid agencies, things may be looking up for Ethiopia, at least in the short term. A third successive good harvest season will bolster the country’s real GDP growth, which stands at 6 percent. Also, USAID reports that good harvests, in conjunction with “significant improvements in humanitarian assistance,” have helped ease the heavy burden of Ethiopia’s food shortages for the time being” (Mary Crane, 2005). The Government of Ethiopia regularly turn to International Community for help in the reason of 5 years lasting droughts and as an after affects starvation. Regular malnutrition causes danger for life of more than 6 million people. According to the information given by Agriculture Ministry of Ethiopia, the country needs “food help” on the sum nearly 121 million dollars. The most damaged regions in Ethiopia are northern and eastern ones. Critical situation happened around children’s feeding. To carry out urgent measures in order to save hundreds of lives in the country, government needs emergency food support on nearly 9 million dollars. In 2009, 25 years have passed since humanitarian catastrophe in Ethiopia, when more than million people died on starvation. According to the official repot of British “Oxfam” foundation, released up to the memorable date, International Community through the passed time still have not learned how to prevent such disasters as providing humanitarian food help only turned to be ineffective as situation with starvation have become a typical practice in this region. It is essential that the following steps will be systematic measures. In this report was signified one of the unsolved problems - exhaustion of the soil, which could not feed working on it people even with regular and normal atmospheric precipitations and during the droughts it doea not give crops at all. Social problems, low level of farming culture and lack of investments cause the threat of starvation to regular event. “One in seven children dies before their fifth birthday in Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 80% live on less than US$2 a day. Escalating food prices and higher transport costs mean more people are going hungry, and are unable to afford food for themselves or their families. Thomas, 1, has his arm circumference measured at Tulla Health Center in Southern Ethiopia. His mother has brought him to Save the Children's clinic to be tested for severe malnutrition. Save the Children is currently working to help nearly 900,000 people in six of the worst-affected regions. We're setting up work schemes to provide parents with a way to earn food and money, providing clean water, emergency feeding and healthcare for malnourished children, delivering veterinary drugs and animal feed to help families keep their animals alive. With over 800 staff on the ground, we've launched a major emergency response in six of the worst affected areas in Ethiopia. These are the eastern and arid southern parts of the country, including Oromiya, the Southern Nations Nationalities and People's Region (SNNPR), Somali and Afar Regions, and parts of Amhara and Tigray” (Save the Children, 2009), “The WFP has budgeted $2.9 billion this year -- all from donor nations -- to conduct its feeding programs around the world, including large efforts in Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and other nations that could not otherwise feed themselves. Sheeran said soaring prices mean that the WFP needs an additional $755 million to meet its needs. That "food gap" jumped from $500 million just two months ago as prices keep rising, she said” (Kevin Sullivan, 2008)

Contemporary situation with Ethiopia and Zimbabwe shows that International Community does everything it can to save children and people in these countries. Still the presidents of some foundations note that humanitarian support is just a half-measure. The countries are seriously suffering from HIV/AIDS, civil wars, inner disagreements and many other problems. The problems should be solved complexly and now the leaders of International Community, Accompanied with United Nations Organization and Numerous foundations try find out what they got to do with the situation not only in those two particular countries, but in the whole continent “As part of the President’s $770 million Food Security Response Initiative, USAID/OFDA developed the Horn Food Price Crisis Response (HFPCR) strategy to increase household and community resiliency to shocks that impact household food security.

The HFPCR strategy combines humanitarian activities with longer term recovery interventions to create and diversify household assets, as well as improve economic opportunities for vulnerable populations. To date in FY 2009, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $40 million through the HFPCR in East Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. In Ethiopia, USAID/OFDA has provided more than $20 million to implementing partners Mercy Corps and Food for the Hungry International (FH) to support agriculture and food security and economy and market systems programs through the HFPCR strategy, targeting more than 800,000 beneficiaries. Programs aim to preserve livelihood assets through reducing post harvest losses, diversifying income and asset sources, and promoting longer-term agricultural initiatives, including seed quality improvement. In addition, USAID/OFDA has provided nearly $1 million in PFSRI funding to International Medical Corps (IMC) for nutrition programs in Oromiya and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples regions to address the impact of increased food insecurity” (US AIDS, 2009) It shows but now there is now direct strategy, but still International Community will not just look at the dying from starvation children. But will provide all the possible help, to ease the suffering of people.

References:

US AID from American People official web site. 22 May 2009. Global Food Insecurity and Price Increase Updates. December 10 2009

BBC News World Edition. 30 July 2002. Zimbabwe Food Crisis: Region by Region. December 10 2009.

Kevin Sullivan. “Food Crisis Is Depicted As 'Silent Tsunami'. Sharp Price Hikes Leave Many Millions in Hunger”. The Washington Post. Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ban Ki-moon. “The New Face of Hunger”. The Washington Post. Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Anthony Faila. “Soaring Food Prices Putting U.S. Emergency Aid in Peril. Supplies and Recipients Likely to Be Reduced”. The Washington Post. Saturday, March 1, 2008

Nina Severn. London Students Take the Actions to Fight Hunger. News of WPF. November 18 2009

Save the Children Official Web site. 2009. Ethiopia Food Crisis. December 10, 2009.

Save the Children Official Web site. 2009. Food Crisis in Zimbabwe. December 10, 2009.

Mary Crane. Africa’s Food Crisis. Council on Foreign Relations. October 28 2005.