Famine Early Warning Systems Network


Famine Early Warning Systems Network

Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET ) is a lead organization in the field of prediction and response to famines and other forms of food security. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development since its creation in 1985, it analyzes a variety of data and information, such as market prices of food, precipitation and crop failures to predict when and where food insecurity will occur, and issues alerts on predicted crises. For political reasons the Central American early warning system is titled the Mesoamerican Food Security Early Warning System, also called MFEWS. While currently monitoring approximately 17 sub-Saharan African countries, FEWS NET also has regional offices in Ouagadougou, Nairobi and Pretoria, and national offices in Guatemala, Haiti, and Afghanistan.

History

The 1984 - 1985 famines in Sudan and Ethiopia in which over a million people died was widely reported around the world. In response, the United States created the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) to anticipate possible impending famines and advise policymakers on how such famines might be prevented and their effects mitigated. In the beginning of July 2000, the name was changed to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. The name change occurred due to a new objective of helping to create and strengthen local food security information systems and famine warning and response planning systems within Africa with which the U.S. could work.

Work

FEWS NET develops its predictions by combining remote analyses of crop condition and agricultural production, often using satellite-based information, with on-the-ground monitoring of local socio-economic conditions. FEWS NET analyses are carried out in partnership with: 1) implementing team partners: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center, the United States Geological Survey, the United States Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agriculture Service, and a private-sector company managing field operations, and 2) a large number of operational partners in host-countries, and regional and international organizations. This network provides a broad geographic coverage, and multi-sectoral monitoring of food insecure and vulnerable populations/regions of the world, especially where it is difficult to assess food security. FEWS NET categorizes the severity of food insecurity levels according to a global Integrated Phase Classification-like scale, which allows comparable estimations of severity across countries and continents.

External links

* [http://www.fews.net/ FEWS NET homepage]
* [http://edcintl.cr.usgs.gov/fewsnet.html FEWS NET USGS early warning products] , United States Geological Survey
* [http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/fews/ FEWS NET NOAA early warning products] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


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