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New ways of managing aid are being debated in Britain as global concerns mount over a hunger crisis devastating the drought-affected Horn of Africa.
Randolph Kent, director of the Humanitarian Futures Programme at King’s College in London, says the crisis provides a perfect opportunity for the British government to test its recent promise to reform how it responds to humanitarian emergencies.
The severe drought, caused by the driest weather since 1995 in East Africa, has affected an estimated 10 million people and is expected to continue to worsen into early 2012, according to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
While Kent acknowledges the importance of a $145 million (90.2 million pound) injection of humanitarian aid from the British government, he says the money will not help prevent the next Horn of Africa drought and that the government needs to become more “anticipatory”.