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The curious line stretched across the wall of a village house, deep in the Sindh province of southern Pakistan. It was high—taller than my five feet and eight inches—and the village elders kept pointing at it as we stood in an otherwise spotless community outpost. They kept telling me about the progress they had made with the help of the international community in the year since the devastating floods of 2010.
Poor rains in the Sahel have led to depleted crop yields and pastures. In late October the government of Niger announced that this year’s harvest has left a deficit of more than 500,000 tons of cereals, meeting a mere 14 per cent of the population’s annual needs. With communities still reeling from the effects of the severe drought of 2009-2010 which affected 10 million people, hundreds of thousands of people now face food shortages.
Despite its recent history of political instability and recurring humanitarian crises, last year the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo celebrated 50 years of independence from Belgium. Despite the huge challenges faced by the country since its birth on 30 June 1960, the government ensured that the celebrations spanned the length and breadth of the D.R.
As international leaders descended on the coastal city of Durban, South Africa to determine environmental restrictions on some of the world’s worst pollutants, Action Against Hunger has urged the UN’s 2011 Climate Change Conference to act swiftly to institute programs to stave off the catastrophic effects that climate shocks are already having on developing countries.
Thousands of families across northern Uganda are slowly rebuilding their lives as they recover from two decades of civil war and displacement. This process is doubly important for the women of northern Uganda, who, as central household figures, must overcome ingrained struggles of abuse if their families are to overcome hunger and poverty.
As leaders gather in Cannes for the 2011 G20 summit, the world has their eyes fixed on the European financial crisis and the rescue of the euro zone. Amidst these concerns, however, it must not be forgotten that saving the financial system is not the sole mandate of the G20. Ensuring food security in the most vulnerable countries is officially listed as one the priorities of the summit.
If combatting hunger and malnutrition around the world has previously seemed like an impossible task, Action Against Hunger’s latest series of publications – Zero Hunger- stand as proof that a considerable reduction in malnutrition is feasible, and in some cases has already been achieved, when governments and societies work together.
Hassan is a very worried father. His small daughter, Mariam, is three and a half years old and is suffering from severe acute malnutrition. The frail little girl weighed just 10.3 kilos, when a team from Action Against Hunger arrived in their small town of Eskot (Central Kenya) four weeks ago, to screen children for malnutrition.
One year ago, Pakistan was hit by the worst flooding in its history when monsoon rains swept away homes, bridges, and roads, leaving millions displaced. Since the floods, Action Against Hunger has played a crucial role in the country’s recovery, providing a range of post-emergency services for some 670,000 people struggling to recover from last year’s traumatic floods.
It is hard to believe that green pastures ever existed in Garbatulla. Now there is only a sandy soil strewn with animal carcasses burned by the sun. Nothing grows here now and in the memory of all the villagers, there has not been a drought like this for 60 years. Helpless farmers are watching their livestock die as there is no longer any pasture for them to feed on. In a region where livestock is the only source of income and food for so many, this is a huge crisis.