Brutal bit of analysis in WSJ op-ed by John-Clark Levin (who has a hyphenated first name, I ask you?).
Ground zero for the famine 25 years ago was Ethiopia, hence my newly heightened interest.
$283M raised, but a subsequent BBC investigation says that "so much of the money went to arms instead of food that it may have prolonged and deepened Ethiopia's humanitarian catastrophe."
The later UN relief effort in Somalia wasn't much better, as 80% of the food aid was stolen, such was the bad security situation, which only stabilized after the US Marines showed up in 1992. Once we withdrew after "Black Hawk Down," the situation once again deteriorated there.
Now fast forward to 2006, when severe drought once again struck. This time, Kenya and Ethiopia, with relatively stable governments, were able to cope far better than lawless Somalia. The easing of food shortages in the Congo over the past five years happened for similar reasons--better local governance.
Levin's point: "Famine and poverty cannot be solved with charity alone. We can only stop them by putting an end to corruption and instability."
A certain administering to the system, I might call it.