Slow response to Africa famine 'cost lives'

2012-01-18 11:24
London - Thousands of people in East Africa died needlessly because the international community failed to respond to early warnings of famine, Oxfam and Save the Children warned on Wednesday.

The British organisations said in a report, titled "A Dangerous Delay", that a "culture of risk aversion" among aid agencies and national governments caused a six-month delay in taking action.

Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking said poor families in East Africa, mainly in Somalia, were still "bearing the brunt" of the failure to mount an effective response to the food crisis.

"We all bear responsibility for this dangerous delay that cost lives in East Africa and need to learn the lessons of the late response," Stocking said.

"We know that acting early saves lives but collective risk aversion meant aid agencies were reluctant to spend money until they were certain there was a crisis."

The report quoted British government figures as saying that between 50 000 and 100 000 people died in the East Africa food crisis, more than half of them children under five.

A US government estimate said more than 29 000 children under the age of five died from May to July 2011.

The report by the two aid organisations said early warning systems forecast a crisis in the region as early as August 2010 but a full-scale response was not launched until nearly a year later in July 2011.

But many donors "wanted proof of a humanitarian catastrophe" before acting, it said.

Save the Children chief executive Justin Forsyth said the suffering of thousands of youngsters could have been avoided with "more money when it really mattered".

"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," he added.

Read more on:    oxfam  |  save the children  |  somalia  |  africa drought  |  east africa hunger  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
37 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Pedal power to hit Kouga this May

Hundreds of adrenaline junkies will descend on Kouga this May for the annual action-packed MySpar Mountain Bike Classic.

 
 

Outdoor

Extreme Kiteboarding in Pumping Conditions!
The Arctic becomes an unlikely surfing hotspot
A romantic holiday to beat the winter blues
Why should you do a 5k?

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The moon moves out of your sign this afternoon highlighting the need to connect to your deeper emotions and absorb all the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.