The slowness of the international response to the developing famine in the Horn of Africa last year needlessly cost thousands of lives, says a report by Oxfam and Save the Children. Sources familiar with north-eastern Kenya and Somalia, however, tell Africa Confidential that they may not have taken enough account of the massive security problems. Official estimates put the total death toll in the crisis at 50,000-100,000 people. Almost all were in Somalia. It is better to drill boreholes and feed existing animals, the report says, than to truck in water and restock herds. Critics note that the war often blocks such tasks.
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