We’ve already reported on the riots in Tunisia and Algeria sparked by high food prices, and now Jordan joins the list. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest against the growing food prices, unemployment and are calling on the prime minister Samir Rifai to stand down. The protest follow an announcement earlier this week by the Jordanian government that $169m will be invested in reducing the price of food and fuel as well as creating jobs. However, protesters say that this isn’t enough and they want more to be done to tackle poverty induced by inflation. According to a report by Al Jazeera, demonstrators were seen holding banner reading ‘Jordan is not only for the rich. Bread is a red line. Beware of our starvation and fury’.
In the latest development in Tunisia, it has been reported that another protester has been shot dead and an American journalist wounded by police gunfire. The Tunisian president Ben Ali announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014 and that fresh legislative elections will be called in six months time. However, a state of emergency has since been called and Al Jazeera is now reporting that the president has left the country and the army has taken control.
These riots have been sparked by high food prices- as well as political unrest- which have been influenced in part by various factors including a poor harvest worldwide and climate change.
Whilst the impact of climate change is hard to quantify in exact terms, there is no doubt that recent droughts and floods have played a part in the food crisis. In fact the recent political unrest echoes what Polly Higgins, the environmental lawyer recently interviewed by Green Prophet, states is an outcome of resource depletion resulting from serious environmental destruction. She explained that “when we deplete our resources we end up in conflict, literally at war, over what little is left and we know that’s happening already. Darfur was a war over water, Iraq was a war over oil… ”
A recent report by FOA found that the global average price of food are at their highest since 2008, when sky rocketing food prices toppled at least one government and pushed more than one billion people into hunger. Whilst the previous food crisis in 2008 did see rioting in the MENA region, the implications were nowhere as serious as they have been this time around.
::Image via Roobee on flickr.
For more on the recent food riots and food security see: