The Horn of Africa is currently dealing with the aftereffects of one of the worst droughts in a decade. Although the recent onset of the rains has brought respite to many parched areas, food security continues to deteriorate throughout the region. Worse, meteorologists predict a period of intense rainfall due to the El Niño weather phenomenon, which could trigger massive flooding in several countries before year-end. Analysts are concerned that heightened vulnerability levels in many drought-stricken communities will exacerbate the impact of flooding. In this issue of CAN, we report on the ways in which research by CGIAR centres – through Disaster Risk Reduction – is enhancing the ways in which relief and development agencies respond to natural hazards such as drought and floods.
In the Horn of Africa, more and more people are affected each time a drought occurs. Drought is becoming more frequent, allowing less time for recovery in between droughts, and increasing the vulnerability of local populations. Emergency food security interventions implemented in response to drought tend to involve the distribution of seed, water, fodder and veterinary inputs. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that, by the mid-1990s, more than US$10 million per year was being spent on procuring seed for emergency projects in the Greater Horn.
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