Friday, November 13, 2009

The Rains Came

Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.Image via Wikipedia

Actually, four days of heavy rain in drought striken East Africa. It's probably not much interest for those who are not here; but I am, so tough.

The problem is that after a two year drought, heavy - and you really need to see it to understand the difference when we say heavy rain in Africa - can do a great deal of damage. The land is parched and in the northern districts around Kilimanjaro here in Tanzania it is particularly so. So the rain took down the side of a mountain and killed at least 20 people in their homes.

The rainy season begins this month and so the devastation in East Africa (Tanzania has not been hit as hard)caused by two years of drought is likely to be supplanted by devastation caused by downpours in partnership with the el Nino affect and climate change. Although huge efforts to feed people have been undertaken by Oxfam, the respective East Africa governments and other aid agencies, there is something missing from an aid perspective at this point.

Starvation caused by drought, inefficiencies in distribution, climate change and land development are all connected and simply providing food aid is not a long term solution. The focus on sustainable food production requires increasing funding to programs that actually have a demonstrable affect on the ground in a very short term.

I've seen how many aid agencies work. I'm not optimistic.

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