Cash-for-work measure in Ikutha, Eastern Province of Kenya; restoring water retention basins.
Photo: Welthungerhilfe

18.01.2012

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Every few years, you read the same headlines: People starving in the Horn of Africa! Worst drought for 60 years! Tens of thousands threatening to starve! And each time, there are calls for donations and accusations that development politics is simply not doing enough. Then all the public coffers are scoured for special funds. However, the critical press would like to know why it is always only the symptoms that are tampered with while no efforts are made to address the root problem.

All of the countries in the Horn of Africa are affected by the current crisis. Official figures suggest that presently, 12 million people are suffering hardship of whom 4.8 million are from Ethiopia, 3.7 million from Kenya and 3.7 million from Somalia (almost half the population of this country) and 0.16 million from Djibouti. A study of the causes shows that several factors are at work here that impact negatively on the living conditions of the population: The countries hit are suffering from fragile or even failed statehood and massive terrorism and refugee problems that are also affecting neighbouring countries (Somalia). There are border disputes between countries (Ethiopia and Eritrea, Ethiopia and Kenya) and/or considerable ethnic conflicts (Kenya). Corruption is widespread everywhere, and massive insecurity based on crime is exacerbating short-term crises and above all preventing long-term planning and necessary investment. 

In terms of climate, especially in the arid und semi-arid regions, wide expanses of land are very much disadvantaged.

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