Drought in East Africa: Does the world still care?

July 14, 2011

So far there is only one piece of relative good news to cling to in the giant humanitarian crisis now threatening 10 million people in dust-blown, rain-starved East Africa.

It is that we are still dealing with a severe drought, not yet an actual famine, a difference that is absolutely crucial.

"I liken this to a slow-motion train wreck," Robert Fox, the head of Oxfam Canada told me this week. "We still have a very short time to get people off safely before the crash."

What he means is that while the people affected are struggling with failed crops and lost cattle herds, the rest of the world by now should have received enough advance warning to provide large-scale relief.