We always knew that this would start happening. Earlier this month, I wrote about the severe economic problems that are plaguing South America, but up to this point I have neglected to discuss the horrific famines that are breaking out all over Africa. Right now there is a desperate need for food in South Sudan, Somalia, northeast Nigeria, Eritrea and Kenya. And Yemen, even though it is not technically part of Africa, is being affected by many of the same factors that are crippling nations all over eastern Africa. The United Nations says that more than 20 million people could die from starvation and disease if nothing is done. When I write about economic collapse, this is the kind of thing that I am talking about, and we are starting to see alarming conditions spread across the globe. Many believe that we could never possibly face this kind of food crisis in the western world, but unfortunately wishful thinking will only get you so far.
“We stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN,” UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said Friday.
“Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease.”
It would be hard to overstate the level of human suffering that we are witnessing in many parts of Africa at this moment. In Somalia, the UN estimates that more than 6 million people are in desperate need of food aid…
As Somalia inches closer to a calamitous famine, the prospect of utter devastation and colossal loss of human life is once again becoming an imminent reality. The humanitarian situation in Somalia is deteriorating by the day with up to 6.2 million people in need of urgent aid. People across Somalia have been forced to walk hundreds of miles in search of food, water and shelter- with women and children disproportionately affected. Over 300,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished, with over 200,000 more children at risk of acute malnutrition.
In South Sudan, close to half the population is in dire need of assistance, and things have gotten so bad there that people will literally eat grass if they can find it…
Across South Sudan more than one million children are believed to be acutely malnourished and UNICEF have said that if urgent aid does not reach them, many of them will die. “There is no food, we eat anything we can find,” one South Sudanese mother told ITV. “We will find grass, we will eat it. That’s just the way it us for us now.”
“The numbers affected are absolutely extraordinary,” said Mark Kaye, Save the Children’s Yemen spokesperson.
“We keep on talking about a country that’s on the brink of famine, but for me these numbers highlight that we’re at the point of no return. If things are not done now we are going to be looking back on this and millions of children will have starved to death, and we’ll all have been aware of this for some time. That will shame us as an international community for years to come.
But we cannot understand why Eritrea is not included in the appeal. Unicef has confirmed what we know from our friends and families inside the country. In a report in January, the agency said that the El Niño drought has hit half of all Eritrea’s regions. Acute malnutrition is widespread. As Unicef put it: “Malnutrition rates already exceeded emergency levels, with 22,700 children under five projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2017 … Half of all children in Eritrea are stunted, and as a result, these children are even more vulnerable to malnutrition and disease outbreaks.”
We have been warned that there would be famines in diverse places in these times. But here in the western world we tend to be lulled into a false sense of security by our comfortable lives, not realizing that the massively inflated standard of living that we have been enjoying has been fueled by the largest mountain of debt in the history of the planet.
In Kenya, a national emergency has been declared due to drought and famine. For those of you that are parents, what would you do if your children were crying out for food but you didn’t have anything to give them? The following story from Kenya is beyond heartbreaking…
Emmanuel Ayapar is three years old and can no longer walk. The flesh on his legs, which dangle from his mother’s hip as she carries him around, is wasting away.
He seems listless and sad, tongue flicking repeatedly in and out of his mouth.
‘We do not have enough food,’ said Veronica, his 28-year-old mother. ‘We eat only once a day.’
The little boy is suffering from severe malnutrition and is at risk of starving to death. He weighs just 15lb – half the typical weight for a boy of his age.
I don’t even know what to say after that.
In the western world we can be so incredibly self-absorbed that we don’t even realize that children are literally starving to death on the other side of the planet.
Hopefully those of us that live in “wealthy” western countries will step up to the plate and aid those in need, and hopefully this crisis will also help us to understand that we need to prepare for the day when things get difficult in our own nations too.
What would you do if all the lights went out and they never came back on? That is a question that the new NBC series “Revolution” asks, but most people have no idea that a similar thing could happen in real life at any moment. A single gigantic electromagnetic pulse over the central United States could potentially fry most of the electronics from coast to coast if it was powerful enough. This could occur in a couple of different ways. If a powerful nuclear weapon was exploded at a high enough altitude, it could produce an electromagnetic pulse powerful enough to knock out electronics all over the country. Alternatively, a massive solar storm could potentially cause a similar phenomenon to happen just about anywhere on the planet without much warning. Of course not all EMP events are created equal. An electromagnetic pulse can range from a minor inconvenience to a civilization-killing event. It just depends on how powerful it is. But in the worst case scenario, we could be facing a situation where our electrical grids have been fried, there is no heat for our homes, our computers don’t work, the Internet does not work, our cell phones do not work, there are no more banking records, nobody can use credit cards anymore, hospitals are unable to function, nobody can pump gas, and supermarkets cannot operate because there is no power and no refrigeration. Basically, we would witness the complete and total collapse of the economy. According to a government commission that looked into these things, approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population would die from starvation, disease and societal chaos within one year of a massive EMP attack. It would be a disaster unlike anything we have ever seen before in U.S. history.
Most Americans are totally clueless about what an EMP attack could do to this nation, but the threat is very real. There was even a congressional commission that studied the potential effects of an EMP attack on the United States for eight years…
The US Congress in 2000 established the Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. In 2004, the committee produced a 70-page executive summary on the EMP threat, and it issued a final report on the matter in 2008. According to the report, “several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication.”
Dr. William Graham was the chairman of that commission, and he says that an EMP attack could knock the United States back into the 1800s in just a single moment…
An EMP attack “could not only take down power grids, which are fragile anyway in this country, and telecommunications networks, and financial networks, and traffic controls and many other things, but in addition, there is a very close interrelationship among those national infrastructure capabilities,” Graham says.
“So, for example, we need telecommunications to re-establish the power network, and we need the power network to keep telecommunications going for more than a few hours. And we need the financial network to continue to operate to maintain the economy, we need the transportation system, roads, street lights, control systems, to operate just to get people to the failed power, telecommunication and other systems,” he adds.
Life after an EMP attack “would probably be something that you might imagine life to be like around the late 1800s but with several times the population we had in those days, and without the ability of the country to support and sustain all those people,” Graham says. “They wouldn’t have power. Food supplies would be greatly taken out by the lack of transportation, telecommunication, power for refrigeration and so on.”
Unfortunately, very few of us are equipped to survive in such an environment. We have become incredibly dependent on technology, and most Americans would have no idea how to do something as simple as growing their own food. Most people would be in a very serious amount of trouble in a very short period of time.
An article by Mac Slavo detailed some of the things that we could expect in the aftermath of a massive electromagnetic pulse…
The first 24 – 48 hours after such an occurrence will lead to confusion among the general population as traditional news acquisition sources like television, radio and cell phone networks will be non-functional.
Within a matter of days, once people realize the power might not be coming back on and grocery store shelves start emptying, the entire system will begin to delve into chaos.
Within 30 days a mass die off will have begun as food supplies dwindle, looters and gangs turn to violent extremes, medicine can’t be restocked and water pump stations fail.
And actually, high altitude nuclear explosions and solar storms are not the only things that could produce sizable EMP bursts.
For example, the U.S. military has developed “a directed electromagnetic pulse gun” that can take out all electronics within a limited area. This kind of weapon can be fired from a plane, a cruise missile or even a drone. The following is from a recent WND article…
A pre-programmed cruise missile not too different from a drone has been proven to be capable of blasting out an EMP-type microwave that was able to destroy personal computers and electrical systems inside a building over which it was flying.
The U.S. Air Force and its contractor Boeing have created the High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, which was just tested over a Utah desert.
Other nations such as Russia and China are busy developing similar weapons. The ability to instantly take out the electronics of the enemy would be a very powerful advantage.
Even North Korea has been working on this kind of technology. According to Newsmax, it is believed that they may have tested a “Super-EMP” weapon back in 2009…
North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states
As this technology becomes more widespread, it will soon be accessible to just about everyone. You don’t actually need a nuclear weapon to set off a massive electromagnetic pulse. A non-nuclear pulse generator can do the same thing. If you set one off next to a power station you could potentially take out the electrical grid for an entire region.
Terrorist groups and lone wolf crazies could even use portable radio frequency weapons to do a tremendous amount of electromagnetic damage over a more limited area. The following is from a recent article by F. Michael Maloof…
Such an individual with a penchant for electronics can pull together components from a Radio Shack or electronic store – even order the components off of selected Internet websites – and fashion a radio frequency, or RF, weapon.
As microprocessors become smaller but more sophisticated, they are even more susceptible to an RF pulse. The high power microwave from an RF weapon produces a short, very high power pulse, said to be billions of watts in a nanosecond, or billionths of a second.
This so-called burst of electromagnetic waves in the gigahertz microwave frequency band can melt electrical circuitry and damage integrated circuits, causing them to fail.
Constructing a radio frequency weapon is not that difficult. In fact, you can find instructions for how to build them on the Internet.
People need to realize that we live in a world where technology is absolutely exploding and we are dealing with threats that previous generations never even dreamed of. As the world becomes increasingly unstable, it is inevitable that these kinds of weapons will be used.
And we also need to keep watching the sun. It could produce a massive electromagnetic pulse at literally any moment. As I have written about previously, scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before we are hit with a technology-crippling solar super storm.
Most people don’t even realize that the massive solar storm of 1859 fried telegraph machines all over Europe and North America. If such a storm hit us today, the damage would potentially be in the trillions of dollars. The following is from a recent New York Times article…
A powerful solar (or “geomagnetic”) storm has the potential to simultaneously damage multiple transformers in the electricity grid and perhaps even bring down large sections of it, affecting upwards of a hundred million people in the United States for many months, if not years.
These huge transformers are expensive and difficult to replace, and not many are stockpiled in the United States for an emergency. In the worst case, the impact would be devastating: An outage could cost a few trillion dollars, with full recovery taking years. Not only would parts of the grid be compromised, but telephone networks, undersea cables, satellites and railroads also would be affected.
A 2008 National Academy of Sciences study warned that “because of the interconnectedness of critical infrastructures in modern society,” the “collateral effects of a longer-term outage” would likely include “disruption of the transportation, communication, banking and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure; and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration.”
By the way, 2013 is the peak of the current solar cycle. So we are moving into a time period when conditions will be very favorable for solar storms.
Let us hope that we are never hit with a massive electromagnetic pulse that is strong enough to take out all of our electronics.
But if it did happen, and all the lights went out for good, what would you do?
Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below…
Are you ready for the next major global food crisis? The price of corn hit an all-time record high on Thursday. So did the price of soybeans. The price of corn is up about 50 percent since the middle of last month, and the price of wheat has risen by about 50 percent over the past five weeks. On Thursday, corn for September delivery reached $8.166 per bushel, and many analysts believe that it could hit $10 a bushel before this crisis is over. The worst drought in the United States in more than 50 years is projected to continue well into August, and more than 1,300 counties in the United States have been declared to be official natural disaster areas. So how is this crisis going to affect the average person on the street? Well, most Americans and most Europeans are going to notice their grocery bills go up significantly over the coming months. That will not be pleasant. But in other areas of the world this crisis could mean the difference between life and death for some people. You see, half of all global corn exports come from the United States. So what happens if the U.S. does not have any corn to export? About a billion people around the world live on the edge of starvation, and today the Financial Times ran a front page story with the following headline: “World braced for new food crisis“. Millions upon millions of families in poor countries are barely able to feed themselves right now. So what happens if the price of the food that they buy goes up dramatically?
You may not think that you eat much corn, but the truth is that it is in most of the things that we buy at the grocery store. In fact, corn is found in about 74 percent of the products we buy in the supermarket and it is used in more than 3,500 ways.
Americans consume approximately one-third of all the corn grown in the world each year, and we export massive amounts of corn to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, thanks to the drought of 2012 farmers are watching their corn die right in front of their eyes all over the United States.
The following is from a Washington Post article that was posted on Thursday….
Nearly 40 percent of the corn crop was in poor-to-very-poor condition as of Sunday, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. That compared with just 11 percent a year ago.
“The crop, if you look going south from Illinois and Indiana, is damaged and a lot of it is damaged hopelessly and beyond repair now,” said Sterling Smith, a Citibank Institutional Client Group vice president who specializes in commodities.
About 30 percent of the soybean crop was in poor-to-very-poor condition, which compared with 10 percent a year ago.
Conditions for both crops are expected to worsen in Monday’s agriculture agency report.
More than half of the country is experiencing drought conditions right now, and this is devastating both ranchers and farmers. Right now, ranchers all over the western United States are slaughtering their herds early as feed prices rise. It is being projected that the price of meat will rise substantially later this year.
For example, you may want to make room in your freezer for meat because prices for beef and pork are expected to drop in the next few months as farmers slaughter herds to deal with the high cost of grains that are used as livestock feed, said Shawn Hackett of the agricultural commodities firm Hackett Financial Advisors in Boynton Beach, Fla. But, he added, everything from milk to salad dressing is going to cost more in the near term, and eventually the meat deals will evaporate as demand outstrips supply.
So there may be some deals on meat in the short-term as all of these animals are slaughtered, but in the long-term we can expect prices to go up quite a bit.
But it isn’t as if food is not already expensive enough. The price of food rose much faster than the overall rate of inflation last year.
As I wrote about yesterday, American families found their grocery budgets stretched very thin during 2011. Just check out these food inflation rates from last year….
Oils and Fats: +9.3%
If prices rose that fast last year, what will those statistics look like at the end of this year if this drought continues?
Sadly, America is not alone. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. is not the only place that is having problems with crops right now….
Dry weather in the U.S., as well as the Black Sea region; a poor start to the Indian monsoon and the possibility of emerging El Nino conditions suggest agricultural products may rally, Barclays said in a report e-mailed yesterday.
And all of this is very bad news for a world that is really struggling to feed itself.
In many countries around the globe, the poor spend up to 75 percent of their incomes on food. Just a 10 percent increase in the price of basic food staples can be absolutely devastating for impoverished families that are living right on the edge.
You may not have ever known what it is like to wonder where your next meal is going to come from, but in many areas around the world that is a daily reality for many families.
Crying and staring at his distended belly, 6-year-old Warood cannot walk on his spindly legs.
“We become so familiar with sickness,” said his mother, who according to social norms here does not give her name to outsiders.
She says she has watched two of her children die. “I have to decide: Do I buy rice or medicine?”
The United Nations estimates that 267,000 Yemeni children are facing life-threatening levels of malnutrition. In the Middle East’s poorest country hunger has doubled since 2009. More than 10 million people — 44% of the population — do not have enough food to eat, according to the United Nation’s World Food Program.
In the United States, we aren’t going to see starvation even if nearly the entire corn crop fails. Our grocery bills might be more painful, but there is still going to be plenty of food for everyone.
In other areas of the world, a bad year for global crops can mean the difference between life and death.
Sadly, it is being projected that the current drought in the United States will last well into August at least.
But even when this current drought ends, our problems will not be over. The truth is that we are facing a very severe long-term water crisis in the western United States.
-California has a 20-year supply of freshwater left
-New Mexico has only a ten-year supply of freshwater left
-The U.S. interior west is probably the driest it has been in 500 years, according to the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Geological Survey
-Lake Mead, the vast reservoir of the Colorado River, has a 50 percent chance of running dry by 2021
The 1,450 mile long Colorado River is probably the most important body of water in the southwestern United States.
Unfortunately, the Colorado River is rapidly dying.
The following is from a recent article by Jonathan Waterman about how the once might Colorado River is running dry…
Fifty miles from the sea, 1.5 miles south of the Mexican border, I saw a river evaporate into a scum of phosphates and discarded water bottles. This dirty water sent me home with feet so badly infected that I couldn’t walk for a week. And a delta once renowned for its wildlife and wetlands is now all but part of the surrounding and parched Sonoran Desert. According to Mexican scientists whom I met with, the river has not flowed to the sea since 1998. If the Endangered Species Act had any teeth in Mexico, we might have a chance to save the giant sea bass (totoaba), clams, the Sea of Cortez shrimp fishery that depends upon freshwater returns, and dozens of bird species.
So let this stand as an open invitation to the former Secretary of the Interior and all water buffalos who insist upon telling us that there is no scarcity of water here or in the Mexican Delta. Leave the sprinklered green lawns outside the Aspen conferences, come with me, and I’ll show you a Colorado River running dry from its headwaters to the sea. It is polluted and compromised by industry and agriculture. It is overallocated, drought stricken, and soon to suffer greatly from population growth. If other leaders in our administration continue the whitewash, the scarcity of knowledge and lack of conservation measures will cripple a western civilization built upon water. “You can either do it in crisis mode,” Pat Mulroy said at this conference, “or you can start educating now.”
People need to wake up because we have some very serious water issues in this country.
In the heartland of America, farmers pump water from a massive underground lake known as the Ogallala Aquifer to irrigate their fields.
The problem is that the Ogallala Aquifer is rapidly being pumped dry.
Tonight millions of American families will shovel huge piles of food into their mouths without even realizing that starvation is rapidly spreading in Africa. Right now Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are experiencing the worst drought conditions that they have seen in 60 years. Tens of thousands of African families have abandoned their homes as they desperately search for food and water. Hundreds of thousands of farm animals have died because of the drought. Considering the fact that approximately two-thirds of the people living in the region “make their living by raising goats, sheep, cattle and camels“, the word “catastrophic” just is not sufficient to describe what is happening. Every single day, thousands more head to Dadaab, the biggest refugee camp in the world. Dadaab was originally designed to hold 90,000 people, but now over 360,000 precious people are camped there. In addition, approximately 30,000 desperately hungry people are standing outside the fences waiting to be admitted. It is projected that by the end of the year there will be over a half million people living in Dadaab. Sadly, this is just the beginning. According to the United Nations, there are already 10 million people in the region that are facing severe food shortages, and many fear that if the drought continues we could actually see mass starvation in Africa in 2012.
Hopefully the world will be very generous as they hear about what is happening in the Horn of Africa. But the truth is that food is getting tight all over the globe. Last summer an unprecedented heat wave caused Russia to put restrictions on the export of wheat. Some of the key agricultural areas of China, Pakistan, Brazil and Australia have experienced unprecedented flooding over the past 12 months. Natural disasters have hit U.S. crops hard in many states as well. Crop diseases such as UG99 wheat rust continue to spread. The world continues to lose topsoil at an alarming rate. Things simply do not look promising.
Meanwhile, the price of oil has absolutely soared over the past year. The methods that we use to produce and transport our food take a lot of oil. If the price of oil continues to climb that is going to make it very hard to feed the entire planet.
Most Americans have no idea how desperate things are becoming in many areas of the globe already. Just check out what a recent article in The Guardian had to say about the situation at Dadaab….
Every day 1,000 Somalis stream across the Kenyan border to Dadaab, which is full to bursting with 367,000 people and already constitutes the largest refugee settlement in the world. They arrive malnourished and dehydrated but – after a walk lasting weeks – grateful that they have made it to a point where they will get food and water.
Sometimes words alone are not enough to convey an accurate picture of what is really going on. Take a couple of moments to watch the video posted below. Imagine if you and your family had to go to a camp like this….
Sadly, the suffering is not limited to one refugee camp. There are millions of Africans that are now in danger of starvation.
A recent article in The Telegraph described how bad things are getting in parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda….
“Two consecutive poor rainy seasons have resulted in one of the driest years since 1950/51 in many pastoral zones,” Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said. “There is no likelihood of improvement [in the situation] until 2012,” she added.
A lot of these people don’t have any money. If aid was not rolling in from elsewhere they would be dropping dead all over the place.
Food prices are rising so quickly in these areas that it is becoming difficult for anyone to be able to afford to buy food.
“For example, yellow maize prices in the Ethiopian Jiiga grain market had risen by 117 per cent from May 2010 to May 2011, while white maize at the Mandera market in Kenya had risen by nearly 60 per cent.”
In some areas of the Horn of Africa we are starting to see food riots. For example, the following is a very brief excerpt from a recent Reuters report….
Kenyan police fired tear gas to disperse people protesting in the capital on Thursday against high food and fuel prices and a shortage of maize which has enraged many in east Africa’s biggest economy.
When people cannot even feed themselves they have nothing left to lose.
Today, there are approximately two billion people that spend more than half of their income on food.
So what are they supposed to do when the price of food doubles?
Are they supposed to spend every penny they have just on food?
Most Americans have no idea what it is like to have to scratch and claw just to survive each day.
There are hundreds of millions of people around the globe that are engaged in a desperate struggle to survive.
Meanwhile, the speculators and the big Wall Street banks feel no guilt at all when they drive up the price of food in order to make a few extra bucks.
Look, the truth is that what we are seeing in Africa right now is just the beginning.
When the global economy crashes, things are going to get a lot worse.
Right now a significant percentage of the global population can barely afford to buy enough food to eat. Most people do not realize this, but when the global financial system totally collapses there is a very real possibility that we could see mass starvation.
The following are 12 signs that the world is running out of food….
#2 Over the past year, the global price of food has risen by 37 percent.
#3 Just about every major agricultural commodity has been skyrocketing in price. Check out what a recent Bloomberg article had to say about what has been happening to many key agricultural commodities over the past year….
Corn futures advanced 77 percent in the past 12 months in Chicago trading, a global benchmark, rice gained 39 percent and sugar jumped 64 percent. There will be shortages in corn, wheat, soybeans, coffee and cocoa this year or next, according to Utrecht, Netherlands-based Rabobank Groep. Prices also rose after droughts and floods from Australia to Canada ruined crops last year. European farmers are now contending with their driest growing season in more than three decades.
#4 According to the World Bank, 44 million more people around the globe have been pushed into extreme poverty since last June because of rising food prices.
#5 Sadly, rising food prices is not a new trend. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the global price of food has gone up by 240% since 2004.
#6 To a large extent, this global food crisis has been brought on by the greed of the wealthy. A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research discovered that the bottom half of the world population owns approximately 1 percent of all global wealth.
#7 The average income per person in the poorest countries on the continent of Africa has fallen by one-fourth over the past twenty years.
#8 It is estimated that over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening.
#9 Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry every single night.
Global stockpiles of corn, the most-consumed grain, are forecast to drop to 47 days of use, the fewest since 1974, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show. Inventories are declining as demand continues to outstrip production that’s forecast to rise to a fifth consecutive year of record.
Most Americans simply do not understand how close we potentially are to a major global food crisis.