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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Starvation in Africa: An all too common Tale

Today  I read a shocking report on the current situation of food shortages in the central African nation of Niger.  Here hunger is threatening up to eight million people in the nation, half of its roughly 16 million population. The nation is in dire need of rainfall after drought has destroyed the lifestock of the largely nomadic country. The great hunger also threatens 2 million people in areas of the neighbouring countries of Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and northern Nigeria.

The UN World Food Programme says it only has half of the $213 million people it claims it needs to up the distribution of emergency food aid. Response to the crisis has so far been quite slow. The reason given for this is both obvious and devastating.

Everyone remembers the Ethiopian famine of the 1990's, the horrible devastating pictures of mal-nutrition and deformities and diseases that resulted from it. However, we are yet to see such horrifying pictures appearing on advertisements for charity organisations in the West. The question we have to ask ourselves is why. Why do we need to be shamed into action. Lets look at some statistics to better illustrate my point.

Every year 15 million children die of hunger. They don't have a voice to tell you about their situation but they are there in pain and suffering, right now.  Over 160 million kids under 5 currently worldwide are what is classified as malnourished. And here is a fascinating statistic. If you take the assets of the three richest people in the world it is greater than the combined GDP of all of the world's Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Starvation has no place in the civilisation we have created in 2010 (not to say that people arent deeply affected by hunger in parts of the West). If we wait until we are again shamed into action it will be too late. For the estimated 800 million people in the world who are currently starving that will most certainly be too late.


  1. I wonder what would happen if we were able to feed them all? Would they be able to self-sustain after that or would we have to continually feed them like pets? (Not to be rude, just a thought)

  2. Oh well Im not advocating we just hand out food to everyone. I mean what we are talking about here is people who will die soon if they aren't helped.

    If we were to feed everyone they will yes go hungry again. the key is sustainable development I think we need to give people the tools to help themselves like education. We need to call off international debt and give people a fair price for the goods produced adn also clean up politics on an Africa wide level.

    Thanks for the comment and thanks for following.

  3. Keith, it's not as if the people in Niger don't know how to feed themselves. The problem is that their farmland is being destroyed by droughts that are caused by climate change. So the soil won't support crops and the cattle have nothing to eat, so the people have nothing to eat. They know how to be self sustainable better than most people in the West know how to.

    I definitely agree that calling off international debt and paying a fair price for our goods is part of the solution. I think we can also do our part to reduce climate change (assuming it is caused by humans) by not using so much oil and gas. I wrote a post about that on my blog today at if you're interested.

  4. Very true that drought and climate change is adding to the process of deforestation in the Sahel and thus spreading the desert. Ill check out your post.

  5. Good morning,
    I am an Italian person interested in Non-profit organizations.
    I found your blog with Google, I am writing to some bloggers because I
    think that, if we ALL write about non profit to help people, we should
    share many informations. I think "we" are always divided, so, if we
    shared our informations and news, we could do something together.
    In my blog I am writing about everything I think is interesting, for
    example "Donation of bone marrow and umbilical cord blood" and the
    money that many countries spend for weapons instead for helping
    In particular, "Donation of bone marrow and umbilical cord blood"
    could save a life, so let's start "everybody" a "cooperation". I don't
    know if I am able to do this, but if you are interested in the idea,
    it could be an important thing if you shared your informations with
    other bloggers.
    Than, if you are interested in particular in my little blog, you could
    read it: and take that informations.
    There are many and many blogs that try to help people: let's share our
    informations and news! What could we do "together"? Thank you!


  6. Hello Allessandro. I am confused as to what exactly you are asking me to do but I will try to help out in any way I can. If you could give me more information on what you have planned I will get back to you as soon as possible.

  7. Good morning! Thank you for your answer!
    First of all I'd like to say that I don't want to make publicity for my blog by talking about Africa.
    My blog is not important, I thought that it could be interesting if many people ( with or without me ) sahred their informations about everything they consider important.
    I have not planned anything in particular, but if "we" all are interested in the same things, why are we divided?
    If we shared our informations we could learn something from other blogs or tell or ask something.
    As I said, I don't want to make publicity for my little blog, I don't want to show it.
    I have no pleasure if someone sees it or a personal interest ( there is no publicity or a counter ).
    Infact this idea could work also without my blog.
    I'd like that people interested in non-profit organizations shared their informations.
    I'd like to join me too with my blog, but only if I would respect any possible condition, for example "no publicity" or many others.
    I wrote this to tell you this idea, because if you and other bloggers are interested in this, you could share your informations. Then I'd like to join too, if you wanted.
    I'm sorry for the intrusion.
    Thank you!