Pandemic Famine Response

Pandemic Famine Response title=
COVID-19 has exacerbated the number of people at risk of food insecurity this year, a number that was already on the rise. (Photo: Fews Net)
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By Harrison Tasoff, UC Santa Barbara

The COVID-19 crisis has made many things less certain. For millions of people, this includes access to food.

The pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity across the globe, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), a partner of UC Santa Barbara’s Climate Hazards Center. The organization estimates that, across the 46 countries it monitors, 113 million people will need humanitarian food aid in 2020. This is roughly 25% more than the group anticipated prior to the pandemic, and an increase of about 31% over 2019.

For more than a decade, the Climate Hazards Center (CHC) has provided critical analysis to FEWS NET, a project of the United States Agency for International Development, and is helping the organization craft its response to the pandemic. The CHC’s work focuses on identifying, early on, areas where droughts may create high levels of food insecurity. This information helps the U.S. Agency for International Development efficiently provide assistance to the right places at the right time.

“In 2019, before the COVID-19 outbreak, the CHC was already helping the United States government cope with a very large increase in severe food insecurity across the globe,” said Chris Funk, the center’s director. Despite global economic growth over the past five years, factors such as conflict, extreme climate conditions and growing wage gaps had led to more than 80% increases in the number of people needing humanitarian assistance.

“Then COVID-19 struck,” Funk said. “In almost every country on the planet, including the U.S., many poor families are seeing reduced incomes and opportunities for work decline.”

Illness and quarantine have restricted people’s ability to work. And for those who contract the disease, increased health expenditures cut into resources that might otherwise have gone toward food. Border closures and trade restrictions have hampered commerce, and a slowing global economy has driven down demand for services. The result is dwindling employment opportunities and a loss of income.

The pandemic has even impacted FEWS NET’s research in the field. “Early on in the crisis our field scientist in southern Africa, Tamuka Magadzire, had a crop tour in Zambia cancelled,” said CHC Principal Investigator Greg Husak. “Other field campaigns planned for East and West Africa have also been postponed or cancelled.”

In 2016 and 2017 the center worked with partners at several different federal agencies to effectively predict droughts in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. The forecast helped prevent potential famine conditions, saving lives.

“In 2020, conditions once again look dangerous,” Funk said.

Fortunately, the team has added a host of tools and techniques to their inventory since 2017. The latest drought early warning systems combine information from climate and land models with satellite-based observations to provide staged depictions of drought. These enable longer forecasts, giving decision makers more time to prepare effective responses.

“Our plan going forward is to support the East African members of our team in producing a FEWS NET alert focused on East Africa, as the first step in a staged early warning process,” Funk said. The team plans to start with very long-lead forecasts, then transition to integrated monitoring and forecast systems to provide a seamless series of alerts.

“The CHC is pioneering and applying cutting-edge drought early warning science,” Funk added, “and is sharing this science and data with counterparts in the developing world.”

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mp805 Aug 05, 2020 11:58 AM
Pandemic Famine Response

I have a about we get China the country that caused COVID-19 to pay for the humanitarian food aid for these 113 million people?

wahine805 Aug 05, 2020 12:49 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

This is one of those comments that's as annoying as finger nails across a chalk board and about as useful. Can we deport you back to the land of your ancestors? :)

dukemunson Aug 05, 2020 03:19 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

Agreed..."China Caused Covid-19" is poorly written. You could say "originated in China" and (if you wish to go a step further) "was systematically kept hidden for as long as possible by the powers within"...but "China caused Covid-19" is clunky.

a-1596672577 Aug 05, 2020 05:09 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

Don't forget to add: "Was systematically ignored by trump until he realized he needed to blame someone else."

Bene Aug 05, 2020 06:02 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

Sometimes, rather than type a long disclaimer and dissertation on a concept, people just "short hand" it. Clunky is one way to describe it. But I am guessing the commenter was just writing for expediency, assuming people would fill in all the specifics. Most of us have heard that it originated in China, that the Chinese weren't exactly forthright in warning us to "batten down the hatches," and therefore could, by some, be seen to have caused, not COVID-19 per se, but at least the disaster we have with it.

a-1596674340 Aug 05, 2020 05:39 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

@MP805 - or China could just deduct some of the $1.1 trillion that the United States owes them. But I wonder if the U.S. has paid off its humanitarian food aid for causing the Kentucky Flu over 100 years ago (aka the Spanish Flu).

a-1596676034 Aug 05, 2020 06:07 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

If we cancel the one trillion dollars in current promised public pension obligations, we can use that money to pay China back.

sacjon Aug 05, 2020 06:04 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

Bob owns a snake and he leaves its cage open. The snake gets out and goes into Jim's house. Jim sees it slithering in and tells his kids, who also see it, not to worry, "it's just a hoax, it's not a big deal" and despite the kids being concerned, Jim does nothing and actually destroys the snake bite kit the previous owner left for such occasions. The snake bites Jim's kids and they get sick and some die. Who's fault is it that the kids got sick and died?

Bene Aug 05, 2020 06:29 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

Okay, I'll bite. Both are legally at fault. Jim is at fault for negligence towards his kids, (and stupidity) but Bob, as the snake's owner and negligent keeper gets sued for negligence, harboring a dangerous animal causing great bodily harm. Jim might lose his kids to social services, but Bob may well go to jail as per precedents with dog mauling cases where owner's negligence allowed dogs to get out, the assumption being that a reasonable person knows their animal could pose a danger and failed to prevent the animals escape.

sacjon Aug 05, 2020 08:59 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

BENE - I wasn't asking for a legal analysis, you missed the point. It's about the bigger picture here about the presidents response to the crisis. Yeah, the originator of a dangerous thing (COVID) may be culpable to a degree (assuming they had any control over the spread), but what does it say about the leader of a country (or a father) who tells his people (who he is responsible for) to ignore a deadly virus as it is a political "hoax," or that requiring people to wear masks is somehow illegal or at least unpatriotic, or not to worry, "we have it under control," or any of the other mind-boggling and scientifically baseless theories and outright LIES he told his people, not to mention disbanding his predecessor's pandemic response team? THAT is the point here.

Bene Aug 06, 2020 12:58 AM
Pandemic Famine Response

You should have used a better analogy as the one you used clearly wasn't a good one.

sacjon Aug 06, 2020 01:28 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

BENE - just because you missed the point (and got the legal analysis which wasn't required completely wrong) doesn't mean the analogy "wasn't a good one."

yin yang Aug 06, 2020 10:56 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

SacJon, I'm a regular reader. You can't control how your readers respond. Bene responded thoughtfully and telling her she missed the point is against what I have taken to be a part of your philosophy and/or politics. It's not like she's saying crazy stuff. Like what the administration says.

Bene Aug 06, 2020 11:14 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

MY point was that your analogy wasn't a good fit for the Trump/China point you were trying to make. My "legal analysis" was sound. Please provide proof that it was "completely wrong." And who is to decide what is "required?" As far as I am aware, anyone may make whatever comment they like, as long as guidelines are followed.

sacjon Aug 07, 2020 09:26 AM
Pandemic Famine Response

BENE - you're right. I apologize. It wasn't completely wrong, just not the same legal analysis I would give. You missed strict liability for one. Anyway, if you got the point, that's good. You may disagree with the point, that's fine. But do not tell me my analogy is "wasn't a good one" just because you came to a different conclusion. You try one, it's not easy.

sacjon Aug 07, 2020 09:31 AM
Pandemic Famine Response

YINYANG - sorry that upset you. I only meant that the point of my original analogy was not to provide a question for legal analysis. It was a moral question, not a legal one. So, it is perfectly ok to say the point was missed. :)

Bene Aug 07, 2020 03:15 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

SacJon, Thanks for the apology. Apologies are much too rare on this site, although in reality, an apology usually is a sign of an intelligent "bigger" person, not the opposite. Yes, I did get your original point, from the get-go, but couldn't resist looking at it from a legal standpoint. I don't seem to be able to resist a challenge, and now unfortunately you might have presented another when you said "try one, it's not easy," LOL!

Bene Aug 07, 2020 03:19 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

Yin Yang, thanks for your comment. It seems to have had a positive and constructive impact on the discussion between SacJon and me. Would be nice if more people tried to "build bridges" instead of canyons!

sacjon Aug 07, 2020 04:16 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

Bene - you are 100% right. It is really easy to be rude, arrogant and snippy with an anonymous handle, but it doesn't feel good. It's harder to admit fault when your reputation isn't at stake in real life. But when I'm wrong, I can't stand pretending I'm right.

Lorax Aug 06, 2020 12:39 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

I'm no Trump lover but China covered this up for months and didn't even tell "Who" about what they knew was a serious problem. They fired and intimidated doctors that wanted to report this that knew the potential for spread. They even tried to lie about it! It soon because too big to cover up. One more time Chinna economically weakening us and now the whole world!

sacjon Aug 06, 2020 12:55 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

LORAX - right, China screwed us big on this, for sure. BUT.... regardless of how it got here, once it was here, our leader had a duty to take it seriously and do the very least to protect us. He did the opposite and continued to downplay it until just a couple weeks ago when he finally admitted it was a big deal and wore a mask in public. We shouldn't have let it get as far as it did. When you see a clear danger and you refuse to act on it and even discredit it and encourage activities that are proven to exacerbate the danger, then you are no better than the person (China) who allowed the snake out of the house. THAT is the point.

mp805 Aug 06, 2020 01:03 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

So Bob is China, Trump is Jim. I think sacjon left out "WHO" from the whole equation...Maybe "WHO" could be Wayne, Bobs corrupt friend who looked the other way when Bob left his cage open. My apologies for my first post being clunky...There alot of blame to go around here especially at the doorstep of CCP where COVID-19 "originated"

sacjon Aug 06, 2020 02:17 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

MP805 - Sure, add in the WHO somewhere, but the end result is the same. The snake got in our house, but instead of doing something about it, our leader told us not to worry, it's a political hoax to make him look bad, and definitely do NOT do something unpatriotic like try to protect ourselves from the very danger he refused to acknowledge. Heck, he even encouraged some of his people (Republicans) to get closer to the snake and tease it (Tulsa rally, etc)! No matter how you cut it, the danger was in our house and the man who is in charge of our house failed miserably to take action and caused needless deaths.

ChemicalSuperFreak Aug 07, 2020 04:46 PM
Pandemic Famine Response

LORAX: Agreed. I voted for Gary Johnson, not that it matters in CA, but I didn't vote for Trump is the point. Still, I don't blame him for COVID. That is all on China and I think they should be held responsible, financially, for the damage it has caused Americans. At the very least we learned a valuable lesson about how critical it is to begin manufacturing some essentials in the US and not depend on China for things like antibiotics. I would set up regional manufacturing of such things, and train Americans to who have lost their jobs from this pandemic in those fields. Full time, living wage jobs with medical coverage and retirement. Granted, they'd have to move to the site of the manufacturing, which may not be their ideal state, but they'd have enough money to buy and own a home and send their kids to school.

a-1596870287 Aug 08, 2020 12:04 AM
Pandemic Famine Response

4:46 p.m. - Obama had U.S. CDC employees in China to warn
us of such viruses. trump pulled them out. Even at that, trump was warned in December by the intelligence community and did nothing. Had to protect the stock market. As for killing Americans, “it is what it is”.

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