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Climate Change May Raise The Prospects Of East African Drought And Famine—American Conservatives Do Not Care

A recent article in New Scientist said that changing weather patterns have increased the chance for recurring drought in East Africa. 

(Above–Oxfam photo of a family gathering firewood in drought-stricken Kenya in 2011.)  

From New Scientist

“Last year’s drought occurred because both of the region’s rainy seasons failed. We already know that the trigger for the failure of the “short rains”, between October and December 2010, was La Niña – a cyclical meteorological event caused by a pulse of cool water rising to the surface of the eastern Pacific Ocean. But efforts to work out why the “long rains” that occur between March and May fail have drawn a blank – until now.

Bradfield Lyon and David DeWitt of Columbia University in New York examined records of the long rains and found that they have been much more likely to fail since 1999. That year also marked a sharp rise in sea-surface temperatures in the western tropical Pacific Ocean, while further east the ocean cooled.”

The story goes on to very clearly state that the reasons for the prospect of recurring drought in East Africa are by no means the definite result of man-made climate change. The article says that studies are now ongoing to see if the droughts are naturally occurring, are influenced by human activity, or are caused by some combination of these two factors.

(It should also be noted that some of the problems of famine in Somalia have been caused by Islamic insurgent groups stopping shipments of food.)

The thing is that here in the United States one of the two major political parties won’t even allow all the needed research to take place, and won’t even consider the prospect that man-made climate change is for real.

And if a bunch of people in Africa die so we don’t have to change our lives in any way, or so we can retain the ideological purity of the Republican Party—Then I guess that is the way it goes.

Many American conservatives have reached the point where they see bike trails as a United Nations plot.

A recent Oxfam report says that global response to the 2011 famine drought in East Africa was very slow in starting, and that many lives were lost as a consequence.

Here is a BBC series of reports about famine in East Africa.

Here is a New York Times page of a number of links and articles about climate science.

Here is how to make a donation to Oxfam for famine relief.  I just made a small donation as it seemed the thing to do to back up my post.

Another thing we can all do in the United States is to ask our political leaders to at least be open to the prospect of climate change, and to support the necessary research to determine the facts.

We are not the only people in the world. What we do impacts others.

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February 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Basic Facts About Somalia And East Africa Famine—-Please Consider A Donation For Famine Relief

I made a small donation this morning to Oxfam for famine relief assistance in Somalia and East Africa.

Here are some facts on this disaster as it relates to Somalia from the New York Times-

“The Shabab Islamist insurgent group, which controls much of southern Somalia, is blocking starving people from fleeing the country and setting up a cantonment camp where it is imprisoning displaced people who were trying to escape Shabab territory.The group is widely blamed for causing a famine in Somalia by forcing out many Western aid organizations, depriving drought victims of desperately needed food. The situation is growing bleaker by the day, with tens of thousands of Somalis already dead and more than 500,000 children on the brink of starvation.”

Though this crisis is in some part man-made, it also has a lot to do with a lack of rain in the area. Issues of famine extend beyond Somalia. And while in Somalia there are impediments being placed on the work that can be done to ease the famine, progress can still be made if relief groups have resources.

Not as visible as disaster as the Japanese tsunami and in a more remote part of thew world, donations have been difficult to come by for this crisis.

The link above also has a list of aid agencies taking donations.

There is always a lot going on in the world and there is always a lot of trouble. At the same time, there are often many people willing to help if they are aware of the problems.

The BBC has a full section of online reports detailing the scope of famine in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Here is a BBC article dealing with some of the specifics of this famine.

From that article—

“The UN says East Africa is experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, with more than 10 million people threatened by starvation in four countries – Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. It has been caused by the lack of rains and the failure of governments to adequately finance agriculture and irrigation schemes….To make matters worse, al-Shabab forced most Western aid agencies out of the areas they control in 2009, severely hampering the aid effort in much of Somalia.”

It is true that this part of the world has had famine issues in the past, and that some of the problems could have been avoided if better policies had been in place. Yet these views are of cold comfort to the person with no food. Most people impacted by the famine have had no hand in causing the famine.

I ask folks to please consider learning more about this famine problem, and to consider a donation to help alleviate the disaster.

August 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Help Our Brothers And Sisters Suffering From Pakistan Floods—Pakistan Flood Links

The floods in Pakistan are taking a terrible toll of death and suffering.

At the very least, 1500 are dead so far. Millions have been displaced and are without clean water or adequate shelter.

It can be difficult to keep track of all the floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and manmade disasters that take place in our world.

Yet we should take a moment to pause and be aware of the Pakistan floods just as we would take note of a tragedy down the street.

The people of Pakistan are like most of us in that they just want to get by day-to-day and have a good life.

These people are our brothers and sisters in our increasingly small and connected world.

Any of us could be impacted at any time by a flood, hurricane, earthquake or by any type of unforeseen tragedy.

Here are some links to learn more about the floods and about how to donate to help the folks in Pakistan.

Here is how the Pakistani English language newspaper The Nation is covering the floods.

Here is how the BBC is covering the floods.

Here is how Aljazeera is covering the floods.

Here is an article at Weather Underground by a U. of Michigan professor named Ricky Rood that suggests the flooding could be part of climate change.

The floods are being caused by monsoon rains. Here is a definition of monsoon.

Here is the Pakistan Meteorological Society.

New Scientist Magazine writes that agriculture in Pakistan is at risk.

Much of the flooding involves the Indus River. Efforts to change the river over the years may have made the floods even worse.

Here are facts about the Indus River.

Here are some basic facts about Pakistan.

181 million people live in Pakistan with an average income $980 a year.

Here is a brief history of Pakistan.

The United Nations has called for immediate assistance for Pakistan.

The New York Times has a list of organizations taking donations to help the people in Pakistan.

Here is the Red Cross.

Here is Oxfam.

Here Is Doctors Without Borders.

August 19, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Refugee Crisis & Ongoing War In Dem. Republic Of The Congo

There is a terrible refugee crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I’m not well informed about this nation, but I do have this forum to help make the issue more well- known.

Our problems here at home are real and important, yet we are often blind the needs of problems of our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, refugee camps have been burned and the people who lived in these camps have been cast adrift. As many as 50,000 people may have lived in these camps. In addition, 250,000 people in the D.R.C are fleeing fighting between the government and rebels.

This BBC article discusses the reasons behind the conflict.

From the article—

“For years, fighting has been fuelled by the country’s vast mineral wealth. DR Congo is about the size of western Europe, but with no road or rail links from one side of the country to the other. That makes it easy for all sides in a conflict to take advantage of any disorder and plunder natural resources. A five-year war – sometimes termed “Africa’s world war” as it drew in Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Rwanda – ended in 2003 with the formation of a transitional government and subsequent elections. But unrest has continued in the unruly east of the country and, as a result, some armed groups have refused to disarm or join the national army.”

The Economist reports that the European Union and the United States have sent top diplomats to the Congo to help resolve the crisis and to stop a recurrence of the terrible warfare earlier this decade on this part of the world.  

Here are some basic facts about Congo. Over 60 million people live in this nation and the life expectancy for both men and women is under 50 years. Can you imagine even more trouble for these people?

Here is Oxfam on the current situation in the Congo.

The very good Global Voices features bloggers who are discussing this issue. One on the scene blogger is a woman who runs the official blog of the Virguna National Park in Congo.

Maybe when we are done with the silliness of our election we can move ahead to a wider view of the world.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment