East African Drought 2011

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The photographs are so heartbreaking, they’re either impossible to look at, or difficult to look away from: the skeletal forms of starving children in crisis-stricken East Africa, particularly Somalia. The worst drought in six decades has brought famine to the region for the first time in 25 years, killing tens of thousands of people and putting more than 500,000 children on the brink of starvation. 3.7 million of its citizens face a serious threat to their lives if current conditions continue. (The Atlantic - http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/07/famine-in-east-africa/100115/). The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that at least $1 billion in aid is needed to even begin to ease the crisis in the region (OCHA - http://www.unocha.org/crisis/horn-africa-crisis), of which only half has been raised thus far.

Traditional sources of water are disappearing in the Horn of Africa due to climate change, and people trying to flee face death on the trail by thirst, illness or violence from insurgents roaming the area.

The initial cause of the famine was climate change-altered weather – the centuries old pastoral way of life is rapidly dying without water and vegetation to support livestock. While in the past a serious drought might be expected once every ten years or so, allowing for preparation in between, they have come more and more frequently of late. (Al Jazeera - http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/06/2011620123049438790.html) However, the deadly “natural” conditions are only multiplied by the political chaos on the region. There has been no true central government in Somalia since 1991, when the government was overthrown by militias who then went to war with one another. (New York Times - http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/somalia/index.html)
Since 2006, the insurgent group Al Shabab – fundamentalist Islamists affiliated with Al Queda -- has terrorized the region, and

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