Thursday, February 12, 2009

Famine stalks Ethiopia yet again

Here is a compelling report from the field by a Red Cross writer, Alex Wynter. It portrays the enormous challenges facing the people in Negele, southern Oromiya, Ethiopia, as they struggle to feed their families and maintain their livlihoods.

In 'the business' of humanitarian aid, this is categorized as "a slow onset disaster" -- this type of scenario is notoriously difficult to promote in the media and to raise funds for. It seems, sadly, we still live in a world where it takes tv images of emaciated, starving children before we 'react'. To prevent such disasters is logically and financially much more sensible but it is rare.

What is unique also about the current drought in Ethiopia and throughout the rest of the horn of Africa is that it is provoked almost exclusively by external factors such as climate, rising fuel and food prices and the sudden devaluation of the dollar. This is well outlined in an assessment report produced by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies last December.

See more reports from the field by Alex Wynter on


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