Ethiopia has been hit with a devastating drought that has killed crops and livestock and dried up wells. This is the worst drought the farmers have faced since the 1980s when the combination of drought and fighting killed a million people.
Currently there are about 8.5 million people who are in need of emergency food supplies. The number is expected to swell to around 15 million by next year.
The UN is urging donor nations to give generously to avert a repeat of that tragedy. In spite of great need in many areas, they have received about $200 million. Estimates of need hover in the one billion dollar range.
The Ethiopian government is coping as best it can, but food reserves are meager. They are expected to be exhausted by year end.
The weather phenomenon known as El Nino(the Christ Child) because of its appearance close to the Christmas season is particularly strong this year. The past summer was very warm and has heated the Pacific Ocean to record temperatures. The vast ocean in turn influences weather around the world. Some areas will receive record breaking downpours and others no rain at all. The north of Africa is experiencing drought. Somalia is coping with flooding which has displaced upwards of 90 000 people.
The whole of the east coast of Africa is experiencing the effect of this year’s El Nino. Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa are coping with drought. Zimbabwe is expected to have 1.5 million people in immediate need of food aid.
Climate scientists have predicted that as the planet warms, old weather patterns will become disrupted. Some areas will receive more rain, others less. Some areas will experience warmer winters, others colder. But the trend is a higher global average. The polar regions have been showing some of the greatest increases in average temperature. Canada is experiencing current winter temperatures of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius this winter season.
In spite of its poor record of human rights, Ethiopia has become a partner in the “coalition of the willing” and has received generous military aid.
Pres. Obama is the first serving US president to visit Africa. His father was a Kenyan citizen. During his visit to that country, many claimed family connections and many others cheered him for visiting.
It is likely that the “showing of the flag” in Africa may be a move to counter some of the influence that China has been cultivating recently. Major infrastructure projects have been financed by the PRC and many entrepreneurs from China have quietly moved to that continent. Large tracts of agricultural land have been secured under leases by the PRC government.
The mineral riches of the continent are also well known.
Blogger, gardener, farmer. Working toward food security and a 30 foot
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on Vancouver Island, Canada