Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Famine response needs better science communication

The Horn of Africa drought exposes the continuing gap between our ability to predict disaster and to take effective humanitarian action. The situation emphasises the gap between our rapidly increasing ability to predict disasters, thanks largely to advances in science and technology, and our capacity to generate the political will to carry out effective mitigation strategies. Modern technology, and in particular the widespread use of remote sensing satellites, has given us the power to predict disasters with far greater accuracy than ever before. Admittedly there is some way to go before many African governments — with some notable exceptions, such as Nigeria and South Africa — are convinced of the need to make their own substantial investments in this technology.

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