Imagine if 18 million Australians were at risk of severe hunger. Right now, this is the reality for the men, women and children of West and Central Africa.
In the Sahel land belt that stretches from Senegal and Mauritania on Africa’s west coast, to Niger and Chad near the continent’s centre, more than 18 million people—equivalent to more than the entire population of Australia’s eastern states—are at risk of going hungry.
The worst of this food crisis is set to continue over the coming weeks. It’s now the hunger season in the region, that time before a new harvest when people’s food stocks become dangerously low.
What would you do if you looked out your front window and saw the child next door – the child who was once a healthy, energetic 11-year-old – search the bushes for insects to feed his youngest sister?
What would you do if you knew that once a fortnight the boy walked his sister almost 10km to a health centre for help? Or if you knew, as the children became thinner and thinner, that their desperate father was about to leave them to search for work in the city?
What if the father was considering selling a seven-year-old into marriage because he could no longer afford to feed her, and needed the payment to feed the rest of his family?
Latest 2 of 113 commentsView all comments
According to Bob Katter on ABC’s Q&A last Monday night, stopping the live export of cattle to Indonesia would add three million people to the 80 million Indonesians who currently go to bed hungry. According to Katter, stopping the trade was cutting off the protein food supply to three million people. Nobody disputed this.
Katter blamed Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) for not fixing the cruelty problem. He asserted that the cattle producers who had phoned and abused him didn’t know their animals were being treated this way.
It’s a pity we don’t have the equivalent of a driving test for politicians. Something to verify that they have basic numeracy skills before they can stand for Parliament. I’m not too concerned about literasy, what harm duz a few misspelled wurds do anyway? But get the numbers wrong and all kinds of stupid decisions are made.
Floods, earthquakes, droughts and cyclones are becoming more frequent around the world and the number of people affected by them is growing. In developed countries such as Australia and New Zealand we are experiencing firsthand the demands these events place on those directly affected and on those responding. In developing countries these challenges are amplified.
As Australia’s aid program continues to grow – in line with the bi-partisan commitment for aid funding to reach half a per cent of our national income by 2015 – it will become even more important to make sure we are using this money effectively. The current Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness, led by Sandy Hollway, is timely, needed and most welcome.
Australia’s aid program has experienced an unusually high profile in recent weeks. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s proposal to ‘defer’ a $448 million aid program to Indonesian schools – and the alleged ructions in Shadow Cabinet over it – generated a lively public debate.
Latest 2 of 54 commentsView all comments
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…