The Global Food Crisis

Reports from Somalia are the worst I’ve seen in years. Hunger is already threatening over two and a half million Somalis and the United Nations says 3.5 million are at risk of famine in coming weeks.

Security, already terrible, is becoming even worse. A U.N. official was killed as he exited a mosque in Mogadishu and notes threatening aid workers are being left in conspicuous locations. Three medical workers from Doctors Without Borders were killed recently by a roadside bomb.

Aid workers are leaving the country. Humanitarian aid has become a tool manipulated by factions. And while it’s unclear just who is responsible for the most recent events, it’s clear the people already vulnerable will bear the result–even more suffering and death. It’s the story of Somalia in modern history.

Another report about the global food crisis by Kevin Sullivan in the Washington Post says women bear the brunt of the growing shortage of affordable food. They eat last and least, Sullivan writes.

This is not new. Women, especially in Africa, have long been the last to eat after men and children. It’s just more widespread and critical now.

Sullivan points out that because of the high cost of food, women are foregoing medical care and some are turning to prostitution. Children, unable to buy uniforms and pay fees, are dropping out of school.

The crisis isn’t limited to Africa, of course, it’s affected parts of Asia and, to a lesser degree, South America and even some parts of central and eastern Europe.

Bread For the World is encouraging passage of the Global Poverty Act (S.2433) and has talking points on their website giving pointers on what to say when you call your senator.

4 Responses to “The Global Food Crisis”

  1. Holly July 21, 2008 at 10:53 am #

    Larry – I feel pretty discouraged about this situation. It’s tough to know how we can respond. Policies take so long to actually impact a crisis of this magnitude. I wonder if developing countries are meeting to discuss various methods of response. I’m glad you offer a way to respond, but what can we as ” the church” do to respond?

  2. Larry July 21, 2008 at 2:42 pm #

    Holly,
    Feeding programs are being carried out across the globe, as you, no doubt, are aware. The problem of security in Somalia is extremely discouraging. But the global nature of the crisis makes it very unlikely that feeding programs will reach everyone who is facing hunger.

    I hope some readers who are directly involved in meeting crisis needs will comment and give us ideas.
    Larry

  3. vfsjk July 22, 2008 at 9:40 am #

    The NGO Women Thrive Worldwide (http://www.womenthrive.org) has been doing a lot of work with Burkina Faso recently. They’re currently trying to get the Senate to pass the GROWTH Act (Global Resources and Opportunities for Women to Thrive Act), which would prioritize women in US aid programs in countries like Burkina Faso.

    Read Women Thrive’s article on the food crisis here:
    http://womenthrive.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=527&Itemid=152

  4. Larry July 22, 2008 at 1:10 pm #

    Great information. Thank you.

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