Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Clean Your Plate

How many more of you were told as a child..."clean your plate kiddo, there are starving people in Africa so don't waste your food." Well it's more true today than ever. There are somewhere around 202 million malnourished people in Africa. Thirteen counties in Africa have over 35% of their population malnourished. 70% of the populations in Somalia, Eritrea, and the Democratic Republic of Congo go hungry everyday. Natasha Kofoworola Quist, West Africa's regional director for Oxfam(a British aid agency), blames donor bias...

"Sadly, rich countries give aid on the basis of news headlines and
political priorities instead of need. Millions of people across
West Africa are now paying the price of this bias."

Drought, floods and anarchy are the main reasons for the food shortages. A dry spell from February through March could not have come at a worse time, as this is a critical time for crop development in Africa. The crops that did grow were devastated by swarms of desert locusts leaving very little to harvest. Then in April floods put the horn of Africa knee deep in mud.

Now add anarchy brought on by internal conflicts and you've got a real mess in Africa. 13 million people are displaced in Africa due to power struggles, mostly over rich natural resources. Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwandan, and the Congo all have been embroiled with violence recently. In fact Africa has more displaced citizens than all the other continents combined.

So what's the solution? More aid? The United States will send $1.1 billion in 2005. 1.1 billion divided by 202 million equals five dollars and forty four cents for every malnourished person in Africa. That buys enough food for maybe a week, and that's if all the money gets to where it needs to go. Although other countries do contribute, America by far sends the most money to impoverished nations, but per capita we rank 20th, only $23.33 per person. Luxembourg for instance sends $313.71 per person. France sends $89.02 per person, we can at least beat that. All the money in the world won't help if we don't turn it into food and get it to the people who need it. This won't happen without security. There are not enough UN troops in Africa, and in February we learned some of the troops that are there are despicable deviants. Security has to be a higher priority in Africa.

OK, it is defiantly hard to relate with African turmoil when their is less than 2% of Americans starving. But we can be informed and we can stop throwing food in the trash. Wasting food is wrong. We all know this, but we all do it. There are people starving in Africa...so CLEAN YOUR PLATE!


Blogger DrZorders said...

My mom used to tell me to finish my beer because there were sober kids in Africa.

Thu Aug 18, 10:16:00 AM CDT  
Anonymous Elmo said...


Fri Aug 19, 09:57:00 AM CDT  
Blogger Elmo said...

OK, I laughed, but that's not funny.

Fri Dec 23, 10:16:00 PM CST  

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