Magazine article New Internationalist

From Dawn to Dusk Drought Means Hard Work

Magazine article New Internationalist

From Dawn to Dusk Drought Means Hard Work

Article excerpt

A century turned, bringing back familiar ghosts. They haunted our newspapers. Millions of Africans beginning the desperate and long walk from their croplands and pastures turned to scrub by drought. The bleaching bones of their dead cattle receding behind them.

According to the Red Cross, 2000 and 2001 were the two worst years for natural disasters ever recorded. As the engine of global warming gets going, floods and droughts will increase - both threatening our ability to grow food. For Africa the forecast is mainly dry.

At the end of last year the UN's World Food Programme sent out an alert that nearly 40 million people were at risk of hunger in the Horn of Africa and in the South. Whereas poverty and inequality, conflict, political ineptitude and the toll of AIDS on farm workers all contributed to the looming famine in some countries, drought was the cracking whip.

Rainfall has been declining year on year in the Saharan region. The only zone of safety has been the humid tropical belt of Central and West Africa. …

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