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I am clearly stupid and naive as I do not understand why people are dying of starvation in 2011.

(45 Posts)
TheOriginalFAB Tue 26-Jul-11 21:37:30

Seeing a 7 month old baby on the news who weighs less than an average new born really shocked me.

creighton Tue 26-Jul-11 22:11:23

we can't control the weather, so when drought, rains, tsunamis occur we normally have to wait until the weather system calms down/rights itself. Also, there is no system set up to get clean water to all the people. I don't know what the governments are doing in any of the drought hit countries and whether they have the facility to store and distribute food. Maybe someone with development experience can comment.

Meglet Tue 26-Jul-11 22:14:47

Conflict and war in the area make things worse. Bad / non-existent infrastructure. If the roads are crap it's an uphill battle to get food / medical supplies to where it's needed sad.

(just guessing really)

edam Tue 26-Jul-11 22:25:08

Not stupid at all, it's a darn good question.

Suspect the main reason is the desperately unfair distribution of resources between rich and poor countries and people. Then there's war. Then there's over-farming which I gather has stripped the topsoil or something along those lines (according to an expert geochemical engineer of my acquaintance who says governments were warned years ago) and overpopulation in relation to the capacity of the land to sustain a number of people, so lack of birth control, lack of healthcare so parents can be confident smaller families will survive, the social position of women, lack of social infrastructure so that people need big families because no other bugger is going to look after you when you get sick or old (if you are lucky enough to survive that long)...

I've always wondered, when you hear all those appeals talking about 'so-and-so has to walk two miles a day for water' how people ended up living so far from a source of water. Did the water course change? Is it gender roles? (Women fetch the water so men don't care as much about being near it is one idea I've heard - apparently in some countries when you ask a village where a new well should go, the men will say 'somewhere convenient for us, near the Mosque so we can wash before worshipping' and never mind the poor bloody women who will still have to walk for ages to fetch drinking water'.)

magicmummy1 Tue 26-Jul-11 23:10:09

OP, I saw that seven month old child on the news as well. It was heartbreaking. I can't actually get the image out of my mind. sad

TheOriginalFAB Wed 27-Jul-11 06:52:08

I want to donate but worry about whether it will make a difference.

Why are we not giving people nets to catch their own fish rather than just a fish to eat today? It is an analogy but I am sure you know what I mean.

chicaguapa Wed 27-Jul-11 07:11:20

AFAIK the emphasis is on sustainable aid, ie setting up water systems, giving people the means to survive on an ongoing basis. The problem in this case is that there's no time to do that as people are dying NOW. You can't go out and catch a fish to eat when all the rivers have dried up (continuing the analogy.)

Whether my £50 is going to make a big difference is not known, but if we all did it it would make a difference. So as well as donating, I try to encourage others too aswell. Thus increasing the impact of awareness. Hope that makes sense!

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 27-Jul-11 07:14:11

Well, it'll make a difference to the person who gets the fish to eat, won't it? People are starving to death.

TheOriginalFAB Wed 27-Jul-11 07:16:52

I know and I feel frustrated that it is happening.

A doctor was saying they need medicines now.

If Britains have already donated £24 million why are people still dying and having to walk for days to get water/food/treatment?

stupefy Wed 27-Jul-11 07:22:32

Because Aid doesn't get where it's supposed to. Governments are corrupt and their people suffer because of it sad

People are cynical about giving aid to Africa now. We have given so much in the past and it doesn't appear to have made and lasting difference.

ginmakesitallok Wed 27-Jul-11 07:26:46

ANd because £24million is a drop in the ocean

rainbowtoenails Wed 27-Jul-11 07:52:05

There is a very good book called Dead Aid which explains a lot of the problems in Africa.

Also banker types speculating on commodities (food) pricing is making a bad decision worse. Make sure your savings and pension are invested in an ethical fund.

chicaguapa Wed 27-Jul-11 08:01:01

I think the aid we give does help to sustain a lot of lives. I'll bet some research on the interweb would reveal all the good that has been done and quality of lives improved in the last 20 years. It's even probably held off this crisis for longer. And don't forget how big it is! Africa is not a country, it's a continent!

The bottom line is that this doesn't mean we shouldn't help. Saving just one life should be something to feel proud of, even if it does mean there's a chance that life might need saving again in 20 years when the effects of the weather conspires against them again.

AnansiGirl Wed 27-Jul-11 08:04:22

I was 24 when Band Aid raised enormous funds to end hunger in Africa. I was a schoolchild when we were traumatised by the starvation in Biafra.
I'm more than double that now, and all that seems to have happened is that there are more people starving than back then.
We've been talking about sustainable resources and improving infrastructure for decades and nothing changes.Millions have been given and it hasn't improved anything or changed the future.
Still war, destruction and forced resettlement in refugee camps, still no reversal of desertification. Still famine on a gigantic scale.

AnansiGirl Wed 27-Jul-11 08:07:30

Thank you for the book recommendation rainbow, I'm going to order it at the end of the month.

'In the past fifty years, more than $1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Has this assistance improved the lives of Africans? No. In fact, across the continent, the recipients of this aid are not better off as a result of it, but worse—much worse.

In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy in Africa today and unflinchingly confronts one of the greatest myths of our time: that billions of dollars in aid sent from wealthy countries to developing African nations has helped to reduce poverty and increase growth.

In fact, poverty levels continue to escalate and growth rates have steadily declined—and millions continue to suffer. Provocatively drawing a sharp contrast between African countries that have rejected the aid route and prospered and others that have become aid-dependent and seen poverty increase, Moyo illuminates the way in which overreliance on aid has trapped developing nations in a vicious circle of aid dependency, corruption, market distortion, and further poverty, leaving them with nothing but the “need” for more aid.

Debunking the current model of international aid promoted by both Hollywood celebrities and policy makers, Moyo offers a bold new road map for financing development of the world’s poorest countries that guarantees economic growth and a significant decline in poverty—without reliance on foreign aid or aid-related assistance.

Dead Aid is an unsettling yet optimistic work, a powerful challenge to the assumptions and arguments that support a profoundly misguided development policy in Africa. And it is a clarion call to a new, more hopeful vision of how to address the desperate poverty that plagues millions.'

Itsjustafleshwound Wed 27-Jul-11 08:10:14

I take the view that (especially in a country like Africa) it is a new type of warfare that is waged on the innocent and disenfranchised. It continues to happen in Africa and there is very little that that can be done for those affected.

Callisto Wed 27-Jul-11 09:48:11

Over-population, degrading farmland, single yield crop seeds, global warming, corruption, war. The list is endless. Until there is a concerted effort to educate these people (especially the women), this cycle will continue until the end of time.

ThisIsANiceCage Wed 27-Jul-11 09:58:32

"A Year in the Death of Africa" by Peter Gill is another important read, about the 1980s famine.

somethingwitty82 Wed 27-Jul-11 13:39:12

of course 24 million is not a lot to us but goes a long way in Africa.

"For just £50 a month you can arm and feed a whole platoon of Al-shabab terrorists, this perpetuating the endless cycle of war and famine"

stupefy Wed 27-Jul-11 15:03:09

It's not just 24 millions though is it.

I would love to know the amount of global aid African countries have received over the last 40 years.

AnansiGirl Wed 27-Jul-11 15:10:52

To quote from the book review of Dead Aid:
''In the past fifty years, more than $1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa.'

stupefy Wed 27-Jul-11 15:19:40

That's an awful lot of money.

ThisIsANiceCage Wed 27-Jul-11 15:22:34

A lot of "aid" isn't, tho.

It's shit like a military level air traffic control system for Tanzania, sold by BAe. Don't know about the funding for that one, but a typical ruse is, "We give you the money, call it aid, then you buy something expensive you don't need from our fave company."

I don't know if this is relevant to Somalia and neighbours at the moment, but some first world companies, organisations and govts use African countries as their own garden and playground, and are not exactly enthusiastic about strong, capable, uncorrupt African institutions which might tell them to FRO.

That's on top of the other challenges people have described above.

So it's nothing like as simple as Money In = Sustainable Improvements For All.

stupefy Wed 27-Jul-11 15:26:48

It's not but it should be.

That's why people aren't donating as much anymore. The money doesn't go to who needs it and slowely but surely the world is wising up.

ThisIsANiceCage Wed 27-Jul-11 15:28:14

Trade blocs and subsidies in the US and EU are also a significant problem for African countries.

Eg "CAP reforms will hit South's poor farmers"
"In West Africa, a flood of cheap (mainly) Italian tomato concentrate undermines local tomato processing. While Brussels provides an annual 372 million Euro in processing subsidies to the Southern European firms, the long existing local processing industry in West Africa is in crisis. In Senegal one of the two tomato canning factories closed down two years ago; the increase in imports from the EU was one of the main reasons. The other Senegalese factory has turned to importing cheap triple concentrate in bulk from Italy, in order to can this into double concentrate, which they sell on the local market. Thousands of local farmers lost a market outlet for their tomatoes through this shift in corporate policy, which has also happened in Burkina Faso and Mali. Ghana has seen an enormous increase in imports of EU tomato concentrate recently. Local fresh tomato producers have a hard time. The government's efforts to sell a closed down tomato-processing factory to an interested foreign investor (Heinz) may well fail because of the unfavourable situation for tomato processing in the country."

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