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|Drought (red) concentrated in South|
The current dry spell is far worse than previous years, such as th early 1990s, as there is no longer any alternative infrastructure to absorb the catastrophe. Although the western regions have seen a little rainfall, the Juba valley remains dry. While international agencies scramble for access, the TFG finds it has too little resources to make an impact, evidenced by TFG soldiers offering their own paychecks over to afflictedfamilies. While over 350,000 displaced people seek protection in the Dadaab refugee camps, the population will likely continue to increase as nearly 75% of the nations harvest is expected to fail.
Afghanistan's long history of conflict has deprived youth of critical education opportunities. Children in conflict-afflicted countries are more likely to be out of school or to drop out. Conflicted areas result in extreme disadvantages of poverty and social inequality. As the bulk of contemporary conflict exists locally, through internal civil conflicts among high-capacity non-state actors, these conflicts frequently target and endanger civilians, further disrupting education systems. The disruption of daily life, the prevalence of social inequality, and the destruction of local infrastructure and markets from conflict has specifically harmed schools and schoolchildren. Attacks on schools, the recruitment of children, and the targeting of school infrastructure in Afghanistan have only reinforced poverty and social degradation [UNESCO].
In the last few days, as I've finished writing my upcoming piece on the Architecture of Conflict and Militarization in Somalia, it occurred to me that more attention needs to be brought to some of the books published on this subject. Scholarship within this domain is still in its infancy, however, there are a few works that merit special attention, either for their groundbreaking investigation or their brilliant analysis. Below are the three I've most recently read, although the list is far from comprehensive.
Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation
Eyal Weizman 2007
Violence Taking Place: The architecture of the Kosovo Conflict
Andrew Hersher 2010
Hersher has worked for the UN Tribunals in Kosovo, examining the manner in which architecture was explicitly appropriated, destroyed, and utilized as a tool of war and power. I've only recently picked up this book and haven't gotten too far into yet, but already, I can say it is highly recommended.
Black Flags and RPG's: Piracy continues to reveal massive problems, while the world misses the point.
The never ending attitude toward piracy off the Somali coast continues to astound me. Somalia is a failed state with no government, no security, an antiquated economy undermined by climate change, no food supplies to feed its displaced population, and scares the hell out of aid agencies. Yet we all talk about piracy as if that is the problem because piracy affects international trade. Its obvious piracy is the consequence of desperate people living in a desperate situation, and if the global community cared about that situation, then we probably wouldn't have piracy. If piracy continued to persist while the country developed, military intervention and security measures would make sense and probably have the desired outcome.
Everyday there is a constant deluge of absurd media generated about pirates. Today CNN featured an article on ships containing a safe room to hide their crew while pirates run the show on deck. They lock themselves in a bullet-proof room full of food and water and wait for help to arrive. Or consider a personal favorite of mine, as BAE Systems develops a laser defense system to disorient would-be pirates from attacking with their AK-47s and RPGs. There is also much fanfare over the development of a private military in Northern Somalia to police the waters and combat pirates.
7 and 12 BILLION dollars per year due to the impact and accumulated costs of piracy. So yes, every one is losing money because some really poor men in rowboats are causing problems.
Perhaps one day, somebody, somewhere, will choose to invest a billion dollars into stabilizing the water supply or investing in the workforce of Somalia. When more donors and nations realize the potential investment opportunity for such a geographically advantaged state, perhaps they will consider investing in solutions rather than laser beams and naval fleets. In that scenario, everybody wins, not just the pirates.
|Mud Bricks for Refugee Housing Construction in Dadaab Refugee Camps|