20 Million Hungry in East Africa

In the wake of drought, crop failure, and conflict, the United Nations has released a frightening new statistic, saying over 20 million people in East Africa are in need of emergency food aid, a situation officials call “very worrying.” Millions of people in Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, and Sudan have increasingly limited access to food, a problem that is spreading to other parts of the continent as well: In Niger, reports predict that “large segments of the population will be at risk of food shortages in 2010.” In response, the U.N. is hosting next week’s World Food Summit in Rome, seeking to elicit major new agricultural investments in struggling countries. Last month, the Gates Foundation announced a $120 million investment in agriculture in the developing world.