A tale of two droughts: one killed 260,000 people, the other none. Why?

Drought is a slow and predictable natural disaster. We know it will happen again, and we know much of its effects are preventable if money is invested at the right time. So why do we wait for people to die from hunger induced by droughts before we start calling for emergency relief money?

The UN recently launched a $864m appeal to help 5 million Somalis in dire need of food assistance because of drought. But what if the Somali government could have taken out an insurance policy against such a disaster? They could have responded to their own crisis before a famine claimed lives and far less money would be needed. They would not now in a situation similar to six years ago, when a drought-induced famine killed 260,000 Somalis.

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