Easing the Drought in Southern Africa

The special report "Southern Africa's Drought," Dec. 16, is informative. However, the little it says about averting hunger in the future relates to drought prediction and food-aid transportation.

Drought and transportation difficulties are not the primary causes of famine. What is being done to reduce hunger and its root causes 20 years from now? Between 1970 and 1989 the population of Africa grew from 288 million to 505 million. Even with massive efforts to decrease hunger, the percentage of people chronically malnourished remained near 33 percent.

With Africa's population growing rapidly, it is not surprising that the land continues to be destroyed, water supplies are depleted in some areas, and species are becoming extinct by the thousands each year. Right now population growth in Africa is limited only by misery, war, and famine. The best way to maximize suffering would be to give food aid and nothing else.

Why is war emphasized as a cause of hunger, while there is little if any discussion of why people are at war? Population pressures, which contribute to a perception that there is a shortage of resources, contribute to wars and the breakdown of society. Steve Hill, Las Cruces, N.M.

Thank you for the article "Southern Africa Fights Drought of the Century," Dec. 16, part of a special report on "Southern Africa's Drought." While this focus deserves praise, unfortunately it serves to perpetuate the Western world's perception that Africa's problems are due to local imperfections, and that progress requires guidance from the Western world.

The author states that the drought relief effort has "played a significant role in breaking down political barriers and easing historical tensions...." The relief effort has also "bolstered the fragile peace accord in Mozambique" and "... increased pressures for democratic reforms in Zimbabwe." The failure to point out the role of global powers in creating many of these problems is an extreme oversight. John L. Largier, San Diego Foreigners in Germany

Regarding the editorial "Weimar Redux?," Dec. 2: The violence against foreigners and refugees is very regretable. The editorial acknowledges that Germany is very generous toward incoming people, and that the country has absorbed a much larger number of refugees than the rest of Europe put together.

I object to the statement that "there is missing from the German political leadership an understanding that Germany can't be just for the Germans anymore." This statement is unusual when I compare it with the United States: all of the stories about workers sent back to Mexico, or the number of Haitians returned to their homeland. R. Leidenfrost, Langley, British Columbia

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