Food Crisis in Africa to be Examined

While the world observed World Food Day on October 16 by conducting programs to raise awareness on the millions suffering from malnutrition and hunger, many Africans had little to celebrate. The famine and draught currently afflicting the Horn of Africa has killed thousands of people in eastern Africa alone. The Pan African Parliament plans to send a fact-finding committee to refugee camps in eastern Africa in an attempt to get a better understanding of the food crisis in the region. A number of international aid groups have already set up feeding centers and stationed aid workers in the famine-stricken Somalia but they continue to face challenges in gaining access to the areas mired in conflict. In the past few years, the international community has been trying to find ways to address the food-crises in war-torn Somalia, which has been drastically affected by years of conflict, drought and famine. Children are the most vulnerable. "We have seen an increase in patients. We even have patients coming from the most severe drought-stricken areas in the southern parts of Somalia... We make sure the children start drinking this special milk, that they receive in the beginning, until they can start taking plum peanut, or the peanut paste which is the special nutritional paste and then we slowly turn them on to eating normal food," said Medicines Sans Frontieres . The organization says that while most of the world's attention is focused on Somalia, several areas in Ethiopia have also been affected by severe drought in the past year, killing livestock and crops. The Head of the Pan African Parliament's Committee on Rural Economy and Agriculture, Jerry Thibedi, said that Africa needs to use its meager resources more effectively to work towards improving food security on the continent. "When we talk about food security ... land becomes the main source of provision for that food security. Because even if people are poor, if people can be provided with basics like seeds and stuff like that, they can be in a position to ensure that the land provides that minimum requirements of ensuring that children and women do not go to bed hungry," he said. Experts say the Horn of Africa faces many challenges, such as climate change and the shortage of food and water. These will prove difficult to overcome for the nations desperate to find solutions that will put them on a path to recovery. By: Nadia Idriss Mayen Al Arabiya with Agencies

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