Tony Cunningham MP, Labour's Shadow International Development Minister, responding to the publication of the ‘A Dangerous Delay’ report by Save the Children and Oxfam, said:
“Today’s report is a stark reminder of the horrifying situation in the Horn of Africa with more than 13 million people, most of them women and children, still affected by the crisis. The real tragedy, as this report highlights, is that many of these lives could have been saved if Governments, multilaterals and NGOs had acted swiftly when the first warning signs of famine were reported.
“The report from Save the Children and Oxfam is right to recognise the actions taken to respond to the famine, however it cannot be right that this response came too late and moreover missed fundamental warning signs which if acted on could have saved thousands.
“As climate change continues to affect Africa and other continents, we must be aware that famine will continue to be a risk well into the future, and ensure we have robust risk assessment and planning arrangements in place. Too often the developed world waits too long before acting, by which point food crises are deep rooted and lives are being lost.
“Labour will continue to work with NGOs and international organisations to press the case for action to meet food security needs. We call on the Government to learn lessons from this tragedy which should include conducting an urgent assessment of the potential food crisis developing in West Africa and what steps we can take now to minimise its impact.”