Oxfam reaction to FAO emergency meeting on the East Africa food crisis

Published: 25th July 2011

At the request of the French government, currently chairing the G20, the Food and agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) held today an emergency meeting to mobilize international support to address the escalating crisis in the Horn of Africa.

In response, Barbara Stocking, Chief Executive of international aid agency Oxfam Great Britain, said:

"It is shameful that only a few of the richest and powerful economies were willing to demonstrate today their commitment to saving the lives of many of the poorest and most vulnerable in East Africa. At this critical moment, with two months before rains are due to arrive and the situation already desperate, the international community must urgently fill the gap of $900 million needed for emergency assistance.

"Rich governments and donors are engaged in an exercise of collective amnesia on a colossal scale. They knew that this catastrophe was preventable. Donors must break the current cycle of emergency response, which leaves donors and affected communities limping from one crisis to the next, by addressing the long-term problems that make people vulnerable in the first place. This meeting was a first step. But the fact that we are here again, three years after the world said never again to famine, shows that strong action is required as well as strong words."

"What we need now is firm political will from world leaders, particularly the G20, to fix the global broken food system by investing more in small-scale resilient food production, tackling food price volatility and securing an ambitious global deal on climate change later this year."

"French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire set out a strong plan of action for the autumn that, if delivered, will make a huge difference to the global food system. I encourage all G20 members to get behind those plans and make them work."

Notes to Editors

Oxfam is helping many hundred thousand people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia to buy food, drilling boreholes, cleaning and rehabilitating existing water supply points, providing safe sanitation and health promotion. Oxfam is providing both emergency aid to save lives now and long term development to help communities in increasingly drought-prone regions cope.

Read more

Slideshow: Drought in Somalia

Watch: Oxfam Alun McDonald reports from Kenya on the food crisis

Blog: East Africa Food Crisis: All you need to know

Oxfam's response to the East Africa food crisis

Contact information

In Rome: Angela Corbalan on + 32 473 56 22 60 or angela.corbalan@oxfaminternational.org

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