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Why The UN Is Sounding The Famine Alarm In Somalia

Already recognized as a humanitarian crisis, the ongoing drought in Somalia has now been officially classified as a "famine." The United Nations made the annoucement Wednesday.

Somali refugees arrive every day in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in eastern Kenya.
Somali refugees arrive every day in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in eastern Kenya.

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

The announcement came as no surprise. On Wednesday, the United Nations said that two regions in southern Somalia -- Bakool and Lower Shabelle -- are suffering from famine. Faced with the worst drought in 60 years, the UN estimates that some 350,000 people in the region are without food.

The crisis began weeks ago, but this is the first time the UN has used the term "famine," something it defined as "an extreme food crisis killing children but also adults' in a recent press release. The term is employed when malnutrition in adults and children reaches 20 to 40% and mortality rates are equal or superior to two deaths per 10,000 people per day. In Somalia that number is at 7.4.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is used to put a number on the crisis, placing a country or region into one of five categories:

  1. Food security
  2. Borderline food insecurity
  3. Acute food and livelihood crisis
  4. Humanitarian emergency
  5. Famine

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) implemented set standards to measure the IPC during the 2005 food crisis in Somalia, looking at the level of malnutrition, access to water and the country's economic situation.

Data is collected by NGOs and the UN. Still, the country concerned has the final say in the ranking. Even though in the case of Somalia, the UN made the announcement without consulting with the Somali government.

In addition to rating the severity of a crisis, the IPC also allows gives a clear indication of how much international and humanitarian aid is needed.

The FAO will meet in Rome on July 25 to convince member states to react quickly and supply additional food aid to Somalia.

Read the full story in French by Antoine Bouthier
Photo - DFID – UK Department for International development

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The Unsustainable Future Of Fish Farming — On Vivid Display In Turkish Waters

Currently, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming, compared to just 10% two decades ago. The short-sightedness of this shift risks eliminating fishing output from both the farms and the open seas along Turkey's 5,200 miles of coastline.

Photograph of two fishermen throwing a net into the Tigris river in Turkey.

Traditional fishermen on the Tigris river, Turkey.

Dûrzan Cîrano/Wikimeidia
İrfan Donat

ISTANBUL — Turkey's annual fish production includes 515,000 tons from cultivation and 335,000 tons came from fishing in open waters. In other words, 60% of Turkey's fish currently comes from cultivation, also known as fish farming.

It's a radical shift from just 20 years ago when some 600,000 tons, or 90% of the total output, came from fishing. Now, researchers are warning the current system dominated by fish farming is ultimately unsustainable in the country with 8,333 kilometers (5,177 miles) long.

Professor Mustafa Sarı from the Maritime Studies Faculty of Bandırma 17 Eylül University believes urgent action is needed: “Why were we getting 600,000 tons of fish from the seas in the 2000’s and only 300,000 now? Where did the other 300,000 tons of fish go?”

Professor Sarı is challenging the argument from certain sectors of the industry that cultivation is the more sustainable approach. “Now we are feeding the fish that we cultivate at the farms with the fish that we catch from nature," he explained. "The fish types that we cultivate at the farms are sea bass, sea bram, trout and salmon, which are fed with artificial feed produced at fish-feed factories. All of these fish-feeds must have a significant amount of fish flour and fish oil in them.”

That fish flour and fish oil inevitably must come from the sea. "We have to get them from natural sources. We need to catch 5.7 kilogram of fish from the seas in order to cultivate a sea bream of 1 kg," Sarı said. "Therefore, we are feeding the fish to the fish. We cannot cultivate fish at the farms if the fish in nature becomes extinct. The natural fish need to be protected. The consequences would be severe if the current policy is continued.”

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