Famine in East Africa

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Dream
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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Dream » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:14 pm UTC

Glmclain wrote:I would never donate to a fund that's not directly building local agricultural infrastructure. If they're just donating food I would avoid it like the plague.

How does that make any sense at all? These people aren't going to be able to eat farming investment until it grows into food, and it's not going to grow into food for years, because the drought won't go away just because you buy them ploughs instead of finished bread. Forget your opinions on what's best for Africa's future, and think about how you save people who are dying of starvation. Do you give them farming implements, or do you give them food?
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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby sardia » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:52 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Glmclain wrote:I would never donate to a fund that's not directly building local agricultural infrastructure. If they're just donating food I would avoid it like the plague.

How does that make any sense at all? These people aren't going to be able to eat farming investment until it grows into food, and it's not going to grow into food for years, because the drought won't go away just because you buy them ploughs instead of finished bread. Forget your opinions on what's best for Africa's future, and think about how you save people who are dying of starvation. Do you give them farming implements, or do you give them food?

Farm implements, and maybe a protest or two in order to stop those food giving hippies from lowering crop prices...

In all seriousness, you shouldn't shut down other people's arguments with "it's an emergency, do what I say." Yes giving food to them now saves the "three million Somalis in urgent need and more than 10 million at risk" but developing modern agriculture and a real country can save you a billion people. You can't discount the background of the situation either. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/16/world ... ref=africa
In this example alone, the Somalis that have ALREADY fled are in the surrounding countries. Kenya has refused to house any more Somalis because they are expected to be held for years, aka permanently drain Kenya's coffers. As for the refugees, they aren't allowed to leave the camps or get jobs. So that's their life: You sit and get cataloged as you beg for a glucose biscuit and some flour. That's just one country affected by Somalia's unending crises. Giving someone a million pounds of US stamped corn isn't going to solve the problem, no matter how you intended it.
Last edited by sardia on Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:06 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Glmclain » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:00 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Glmclain wrote:I would never donate to a fund that's not directly building local agricultural infrastructure. If they're just donating food I would avoid it like the plague.

How does that make any sense at all? These people aren't going to be able to eat farming investment until it grows into food, and it's not going to grow into food for years, because the drought won't go away just because you buy them ploughs instead of finished bread. Forget your opinions on what's best for Africa's future, and think about how you save people who are dying of starvation. Do you give them farming implements, or do you give them food?


Here's the problem. There's no easy answer. If you give them food now, it will be used as a weapon by local warlords and further drive down prices of any locally grown crops, further killing any chances of local economy.

If we help them build infrastructure and use armed forces to combat warlords (which would probably help with the pirate problem) then they can survive on their own.

Either way lots and lots of people will die. I'll take the option for a brighter future.

It's unfair and sucks for the people there are starving now, but unfortunately that's how it is. I'm not a sociopath or a bad person, I'm a political realist. Nothing ever worth doing was cheap, in money or in lives.

Also, 50, maybe 100 years down the road if they have loads of infrastructure and a great farming system, guess who they owe? U.S.A. It's in our best interest to help out now, they'll owe us one later.

Which is why we really don't give two fucks about Haiti, there's nothing they can really offer us that we care about.
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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:14 pm UTC

Dream wrote:How does that make any sense at all? These people aren't going to be able to eat farming investment until it grows into food, and it's not going to grow into food for years, because the drought won't go away just because you buy them ploughs instead of finished bread. Forget your opinions on what's best for Africa's future, and think about how you save people who are dying of starvation. Do you give them farming implements, or do you give them food?

Where do you intend to get the food?

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Dream » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:04 am UTC

Glmclain wrote:further drive down prices of any locally grown crops, further killing any chances of local economy.

Waht local crops? The crops are dead, and the land is barren. There are no crops, and no crops will grow there no mater what you do in terms of investment.

Glmclain wrote:Either way lots and lots of people will die. I'll take the option for a brighter future.

It's unfair and sucks for the people there are starving now, but unfortunately that's how it is. I'm not a sociopath or a bad person, I'm a political realist. Nothing ever worth doing was cheap, in money or in lives.

There is no either or here. Asked if you would help people to eat enough to survive, your answer is "No, let them die". Everything you say after that is moot. If you were addressing the problem in front of you, you'd be saying "we do have to give them food now, because by definition giving food is the only way to avert a current famine, but we also need to solve the longer term problems." It's your insistence on blaming a famine caused by drought on Western economic mollycoddling that is abhorrent. You're free to disagree with aid policy without withholding food from starving people, but you choose to withhold it regardless.
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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Glmclain » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:10 am UTC

So your solution is just keep sending them food for an indefinite amount of time because nothing can grow? That's not our responsibility.

If nothing can grow no matter what, and nothing can help them grow in the future, and the only way for people to continue occupying the region is to keep sending them food for years and years and years, then frankly it should stop being our problem.

Help them move, or stop sending aid. We have too many problems with our own country to manage an entire region of people who will never be able to sustain themselves and we owe nothing to.
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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:15 am UTC

Dream wrote:
Glmclain wrote:further drive down prices of any locally grown crops, further killing any chances of local economy.

Waht local crops? The crops are dead, and the land is barren. There are no crops, and no crops will grow there no mater what you do in terms of investment.


If no crops will grow there, perhaps we should ask why we are giving resources to ensure that more people are there than the carrying capacity of that region.

But, assuming you meant the short term, I would say, yeah, feed the people so the farmers themselves have to eat their seed-grain or are too weak to even grow more food next season. Except, you know, the whole marauding warlord situation that is being fueled by the aid. It's between a rock and a hard place.

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Mittagessen » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:44 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:If no crops will grow there, perhaps we should ask why we are giving resources to ensure that more people are there than the carrying capacity of that region.


Under this premise we should have vacated Europe 500 years ago or we should vacate the British isles because they can't feed themselves. Given a normal harvest season the whole region is perfectly able to feed itself. It's just that this area is hit by extreme weather destroying a large majority of all crops and killing off most cattle slightly more often than the rest of the world. So either you have a migration of several million people every few years or we let everybody except n people able to feed themselves no matter what die. On the other hand we could mitigate this humanitarian desaster and its potential to cause widespread unrest in neighboring countries by sending in some short term food aid.
Even the war lords you are so concerned aren't really an issue here. Most refugees needing help right now reside either in Kenya, the immediate border region or Mogadishu. Mogadishu is basically under UN control, Kenya has a stable government and the Islamic militias in South Somalia have agreed to let NGOs operate in the area to distribute food aid.

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Iulus Cofield » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:47 am UTC

Can't it be both?

I realize now that there is a second page in this thread and that this post makes very little sense in light of that.
Last edited by Iulus Cofield on Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:07 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:03 am UTC

Mittagessen wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:If no crops will grow there, perhaps we should ask why we are giving resources to ensure that more people are there than the carrying capacity of that region.


Under this premise we should have vacated Europe 500 years ago or we should vacate the British isles because they can't feed themselves. Given a normal harvest season the whole region is perfectly able to feed itself. It's just that this area is hit by extreme weather destroying a large majority of all crops and killing off most cattle slightly more often than the rest of the world. So either you have a migration of several million people every few years or we let everybody except n people able to feed themselves no matter what die. On the other hand we could mitigate this humanitarian desaster and its potential to cause widespread unrest in neighboring countries by sending in some short term food aid.
Even the war lords you are so concerned aren't really an issue here. Most refugees needing help right now reside either in Kenya, the immediate border region or Mogadishu. Mogadishu is basically under UN control, Kenya has a stable government and the Islamic militias in South Somalia have agreed to let NGOs operate in the area to distribute food aid.


I should clarify. If they can create enough wealth to trade for food, then their carrying capacity is more than what merely grows there :P. Otherwise, they are a permanent drain on the rest of the world.

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:06 pm UTC

No, something should be done so they aren't a permanent drain. Farming infrastructure to allow them to grow enough to support themselves is 1 option. Teaching them about condoms is another.

These countries have growth rates in full percentages each year. Continuously supporting them feeds the growth rate, with no end in sight. Should we continue the support as is until there are 20 million in Somalia? 50 million? 500 million?

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Dauric » Tue Aug 16, 2011 2:03 pm UTC

Food aid, by itself is useless. Without any investment in new farming and irrigation techniques as well as general civil infrastructure food aid by itself is a war plan with no exit strategy.

Investment in infrastructure by itself is useless. Without the ability to take care of their immediate needs starving people will cannibalize the infrastructure projects (IE: eating farm seed to stay alive because it's the only thing they have). People in dire circumstances generally don't think long term in no small part because they don't believe they have a long term to think for.

It's not a case of "Either/Or", both are necessary as parts of a complete package, and probably more efforts beyond those (mostly to deal with the government or lack thereof).
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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Dream » Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:13 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Farming infrastructure to allow them to grow enough to support themselves is 1 option.
This isn't a case of poorly thought out subsistence farming suddenly collapsing. It's sustained, long term drought that is destroying an area much greater than the famine. The drought reaches south as far as northern Kenya. Consider that developed, wealthy nations like the US and Australia are powerless in the face of this kind of thing, on a scale much smaller than the total area of their land. You can't irrigate without rivers, and you can't plough and sow in parched earth. There is no solution to this based solely on teaching about farming and condoms. People there would be starving if they had modern farming techniques and 2.1 children. There just isn't any food at all, and there isn't any climate to grow it or economy to buy it in when it is needed.
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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby sardia » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:26 am UTC

Actually, if there was functioning infrastructure and 2.1 children, there would be a lot less people starving, which in turn reduces the demand for food.
Anyway, last report I read said the UN is short 1/2 a billion bucks to give aid to everyone in trouble there. There is sufficient food and medicine for everyone in a refugee camp. Of course, that leaves nothing for the far larger population sitting outside the refugee camps and those still stuck in the shittiest end of Somalia. The $500 million includes a 15-20% loss of food due to corruption, and thievery. Paraphrased: "If you think you have an excuse not to give cuz the economy sucks, remember that the US gives the least by GDP as a percentage of it's wealth. So pay up please." Say's Senator Bill Frist. Lastly, this so called disaster is entirely man made and political. The drought is bad but there's plenty of food being brought in. However, aid groups aren't allowed in Al Qaeda controlled parts of Somalia which means those starving people have to hump it for 3 weeks to get the joy of sitting outside a refugee camp watching faster refugees get food.
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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Mittagessen » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:43 am UTC

sardia wrote:However, aid groups aren't allowed in Al Qaeda controlled parts of Somalia which means those starving people have to hump it for 3 weeks to get the joy of sitting outside a refugee camp watching faster refugees get food.


There are no al-Qaeda controlled parts of Somalia.
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Actually they are getting to a point where more and more regions stabilize and form independent states supporting a federated Somalia. Supporting Puntland and Somaliland would have done infinitely more to foster stability than propping up the Ethiopian puppet government in Mogadishu.

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Hawknc » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:13 am UTC

Al-Shabaab is allied with Al-Qaeda and is considered a terrorist organisation in many countries. It is definitely incorrect to consider them one and the same, though.

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Zamfir » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:30 am UTC

Mittagessen wrote:
Actually they are getting to a point where more and more regions stabilize and form independent states supporting a federated Somalia. Supporting Puntland and Somaliland would have done infinitely more to foster stability than propping up the Ethiopian puppet government in Mogadishu.

We are planning a holiday to Ethiopia next year, and the people in the know say that Somaliland is apparently a nice place to go if you want to include some beach-time in your holiday. They haven't entirely convinced me, they are bit too much the type of adventure-tourist who wants to be FIRST11!! to new destinations, and they use words like "fairly peaceful". But they're not crazy either, and the difference in circumstances between parts of Somalia is apparently huge.

Then again, I don't think Somaliland ever collapsed either, they more side-stepped the issues of the rest of the country. So it's not clear that it offers a direct example for the problems of the south.

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Mittagessen » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:23 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:We are planning a holiday to Ethiopia next year, and the people in the know say that Somaliland is apparently a nice place to go if you want to include some beach-time in your holiday. They haven't entirely convinced me, they are bit too much the type of adventure-tourist who wants to be FIRST11!! to new destinations, and they use words like "fairly peaceful". But they're not crazy either, and the difference in circumstances between parts of Somalia is apparently huge.

Then again, I don't think Somaliland ever collapsed either, they more side-stepped the issues of the rest of the country. So it's not clear that it offers a direct example for the problems of the south.


Then take Puntland or a more recent example Azania. Puntland has stabilized, resembles a working democracy (they had more peaceful transitions of power than most of the rest of Africa) and takes extreme lengths to combat corruption and illiteracy. The West hasn't given a single dime and when the Puntlandian administration asked for modest support to build up an effective coast guard to keep piracy in check they were just ignored.

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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby Softfoot » Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:04 pm UTC

I've been listening to and reading arguments for and against supporting aid organisations for the last week. Excuses masquerade as concern that the resources donated will actually go where they need to, and not be swallowed up in corruption or hidden by 'administration'. Ethical debates about where the funds should be allocated, where the resources should be directed.
If you're so ethical, if you're so logical, if you're so reasonable, do your research. There are SO MANY organisations trying to provide/distribute support. Find out which one is trying to get resources where they will do the good with which you agree. Find out which one gets the highest percentage of funds to the people that need it.
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Re: Famine in East Africa

Postby jules.LT » Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:55 pm UTC

I'm going to donate, but I'm kinda pissed off at having had my attention grabbed by a false or at least unsourced figure: "the worst famine in 60 years" isn't in the article: what it says is "Somalia is suffering its worst drought in 60 years".

I think I'll go with the World Food Programme

Kinda ambivalent about making a facebook appeal, now -_-
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