Thursday, August 4, 2011

El Nino, La Nina, Climate Change and the Horrific Drought in Somalia

As I write this, Somalia is suffering its worst drought in 60 years. The lack of rain—combined with civil unrest and political interference from the al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab group—has produced catastrophic results.

Yesterday Nancy Linborg, an official with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told a Congressional committee that more than 29,000 children under the age of 5 had died over the past three months in Somalia, thanks to the famine. If conditions worsen—and there's little reason to expected that they won't—upwards to 800,000 children may die of hunger and other causes.

The violent political situation on the ground has multiplied the effect of the famine, preventing UN and other aid groups from helping the starving. But the drought itself is crippling—rainfall over the Horn of Africa, which includes Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya in East Africa, between February and July 2011 has been 2 to 8 inches below normal, as this map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows: More >>>

Location: Cayman Islands