The politics of aid can delay early intervention, despite last year's famine in Somalia showing early aid can achieve more.
"Somali girls fill their jerry cans at the Dadaab refugee camp. Early warning systems failed to prevent famine being declared in Somalia in July 2011. Photograph: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
"A recent briefing paper by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) succinctly sums up the frustration of humanitarian groups as they grapple with the food crisis in the Sahel, where 18 million people are at risk from hunger.
"'Early warning [already launched by the FAO in October] was not followed by early funding and response. Only rapid action would prevent further deterioration of the food security situation and avoid a full-scale crisis,' said the FAO.
"Like last year's famine in Somalia, the Sahel is a crisis foretold. Senior humanitarian officials such as the EU's Kristalina Georgieva began sounding the alarm at least as far back as in December 2011. Like others – such as NGOs in the Sahel working group – she has argued that early preventive measures are not just the right thing to do, but also cost less than spending on a full-blown emergency. She also expressed frustration at the inability of the world to react until the 'CNN effect' – pictures of starving children on TV – kicks in."
The Guardian Poverty Matters blogPosted by Mark Tran
Thursday 21 June 2012