Former Scottish First Minister and Labour Peer Lord McConnell writes that the Economic Affairs Committee could not have chosen a worse time for their report opposing the all party commitment to 0.7% of UK GDP as the development aid target.
While politicians and pundits in Britain might be having fun arguing about taxes on pasties, international attention is slowly moving to the Sahel Region of West Africa, where 13 million people are at risk of famine due to food shortages caused by weather patterns and regional instability.
The escalating situation in the Sahel is now compounded by the recent coup in Mali, which has resulted in thousands of refugees fleeing across borders. To make matters worse, Mali is expected to be one of the countries hit hardest by the food crisis –an estimated 3.5 million people face food shortages and staple food prices rising over 100 percent.
Two years ago, a catastrophic hunger crisis began to unfold across East Africa, killing between 50,000 and 100,000 in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia alone and affecting more than 13 million people – most of them women and children.
According to a recent report by Save the Children and Oxfam, slow international response was partly to blame for these numbers. The report states that indications of the impending crisis were evident as early as August 2010.
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