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June 11, 1974 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-06-11

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Tuesday, June 11, 1974
JIJIGA, Ethiopia (4') - Trac- terms
tors slog through mud now on trition
the vast plain around Jijia the Ui
Peasants and cattle drink from heU
puddles. Grain shoots and grass Eth
spread a thin carpet of green. sched
Grass, grain and puddles are et
strange sights in Jiiga, where
until a few weeks ago it hadn't
rained noticeably for two years.
Now torrents of rain have come
to this fly-infested military and
farm center 30 miles across a
baking semidesert from hostile Hoa
"ANOTHER two weeks with
no rain and the temperatures sOm
we have here, and people would
have been dying in big num- WaE
bers," said Dave Ellaway, a
British Red Cross volunteer. Ji-
jiga is about 650 miles north equi
of the Equator.
Still, 75 per cent of the cattle
in the area have starved and
many more died gorging them-
selves after the rain. Much more
rain is needed over the next few tracto
months before the first crops planti
can be harvested in eastern Foreii
Ethiopia's Harrarge Province. to pay
Inhabitants will depend heavily, $15 i
meanwhile, on food aid -pro-
grams, hampered by lack of SHI
funds and transport, strikes and pianr
bureaucracy. er, pa
Survival is still in the balance fans
for Jijiga, as it is for three of un-
million rural Ethiopians in the nomac
drought-affected regions across carcas
the country. flying
IN ADDIS, Ababa, the capi- D
sal; Western relief administra- . e
tors say they are winning the ge g
battle against hunger. Death rule
rates are reported back to near worse
normal in most areas. Scenes of easter
maas starvation like those of disast
last year, when tens of thous- scale.
ands died, are hard to find. Shin
"I am amazed how much bet- thousa
ter things have gotten over the food r
past two or three months -in 12 ma


Page Five

fights drought, starvation

of administration and nu- view he plans to ask about 40
," said John Phillips of foreign donors for as much as
nited Nations Development 250,000 tons of grain in 1975,
am. about 100,000 tons more rhan the
iopian . authorities have amount pledged this year.
uled 21 rehabilitation pro-
- oxen and seed supply, A QUARTER-million tons of
rders offer grain to marketplaces at exorbi-
prices; to obtain one sack of sorghum,
e peasants agree to pay back four. Even
er is available from well owners at the
ivalent of 30 cents a bucket.

to produce normal crops.
Conditions are worst in Har-
rarge, Bale and Sidamo provin-
ces - the southeastern third of
Rain and food aid appear to
have staved off the widespread
starvation officials had feared
would start in May. Hoarders
offer grain in marketplaces at
exorbitant prices; to obtain one
sack of sorghum, some peas-
ants agree to pay back four.
EVEN WATER is available
from well owners at the equiva-
lent of 30 cents a bucket.
"If your disposable income
is two Ethiopian dollars a week,
you can't afford to both eat and
drink," Ellway said. An Ethio-
pian dollar is worth 50 U.S.
But Arthur Hamersley, the
U.N. Food and Agriculture Or-

ganization representative in Ad-
dis Ababa, reported after fly-
ing over Harrarge that the rain
was light and scattered. Most
farmers who plowed their fields
didn't bother to plant and those
who did have little chance of
seeing the current sorghum and
corn crop mature.
THE FIRST possible harv-est
that could overcome the need
for food relief would be in De-
cember, seven months away,
Hamersley said.
One Western relief expert ex-
pects the 1974 crops throughtaut
the province to total less than
40 per cent of last year's yield,
which was far less than the
1972 harvest.
IHarrarge officials have asked
Shimelis for food aid for .00,-
000 persons, most of them no-

r rental, well-digging, tree
ng and road building.
gn donors are being asked
y all but $2.5 million of the
illion cost.
MELIS Adugna, the Ethio-
drought relief commission-
ints a darker picture. He
out on his desk snapshots
lerrourished children and
er burning heaps of cattle
Esses, taken on a recent
tour deep in the Ogaden
t near Somalia.
pite huge injections of fore-
rain, Shimelis does not
out the possibility that
sing conditions in south-
rn Ethiopia will produce
er on an even greater
melis expects hundreds of
nds of Ethiopians to need
'elief for at least the next
nths. He said in an inter-

grain, plus sea transport to
Ethiopia, would cost about $37.5
million at current prices.
-Rain has been falling in Wollo
and Tigre, the two northeastern
provinces hit hard by drought
last year, and in the southwest.
Most observers say it is too
soon to tell whether the rain
will be sufficient. Even if it is
they say, famine-weakened pea-
sants, short of seed grain and
oxen to pull plows, are unlikely

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