Zimbabwe Needs Food

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

The United Nations says Zimbabwe needs $480 million in food, health and humanitarian aid this year:

Alain Noudehou, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in the capital, Harare, said Tuesday an estimated 1.4 million people still need food handouts because of crop failures, erratic rain and other economic pressures affecting daily incomes.

Dennis Mangan notes that the climate always cooperated with Ian Smith:

During all the years of white rule, and even later before white farmers had been driven from their farms through murder and intimidation, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) never had “crop failures, erratic rain, and other economic pressures” that caused a drop in agricultural production. The climate always cooperated with Ian Smith. Mugabe has had a run of bad luck, and now Western governments — not China or Saudi Arabia, of course, they can’t be expected to help — need to pony up once again.

Meanwhile in Somalia, another famine is brewing. Somalia, land of pirates and warlords, is “suffering its worst drought in 60 years”. Some heartless people — probably racist — appear to believe that sending money and food to Africa does more harm than good. Because Africa’s population has increased five-fold since 1950, it’s hard to see how it could get by without substantial foreign help.

Commenter Rick Darby calls this a perfect example of feel-good “help” that perpetuates the problem it is supposed to solve:

When you enable a poorly functioning population to grow its numbers far in excess of what it could in the absence of food and medical aid, you are guaranteeing that there will be continual, and greater, crises in the future.

Another commenter notes that in 1984 Ethiopia had around 30 million people and was starving:

To raise awareness and money, the British artists cut the record “Do They Know it’s Christmas”, and the US artists released “We are the World” a few months later.

Now in 2011 Ethiopia, sans Eritrea, has around 90 million people and there are lingering hunger problems. Was the massive aid effort in 1984-85 worth it? Was it the correct thing to do? Or would a different approach have been better?

They were unable to feed themselves with 30 million people, and now they have 90 million.

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