OXFAMExchange, Fall 2011

Africa's last famine?

This season the rains have failed throughout much of East Africa—in some areas, triggering the worst drought in 60 years. More than 13 million people are now at risk, 1.8 million Somalis alone have been displaced, and 750,000 people are facing starvation. The chronic cycle of drought and suffering prompts us to ask: What would it take to make this Africa's last famine?

Oxfam's work—whether helping Guatemalan women organize to fight gender violence, funding irrigation projects in Ethiopia, or standing with people in Darfur—is about building the resilience of local communities over the long haul. We cannot prevent shocks, but we can help our sisters and brothers access some of the same resources we have to cushion us when times are lean.

We cannot rush from crisis to crisis with short-term fixes. What more evidence do we need than what is happening in East Africa now? This is not the region's first famine, but imagine the headline: Africa's last famine.

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