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May 10, 1980 - Image 9

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-10

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The Michigan Daily-Saturday, May 10, 1980-Page 9
African nations face famine

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP)-Drought and war have
forced millions of starving people into refugee camps
in Uganda, Ethiopia, and Somalia and hundreds of
thousands face famine, relief officials said
Thousands have already died.
Crops maturing in the fields offer hope that the
shortages in Uganda will ease by July. But
meanwhile food reserves are vanishing.
"THE SITUATION IS growing more critical every
day. Only the relief distribution programs have kept
it from getting out of hand," John Woodland of
Oxfam, the British aid group, said yesterday.
The World Food Program, another relief agency,
estimates 500,000 face famine in Uganda.
Corruption, inefficiency, indifference, and low
morale have embittered many aid experts here,
officials said in interviews. Most agencies have
sidestepped the government in distributing food, they
"I wouldn't dream of using the government to
distribute what we bring in. Too much of it would
simply disappear," an aid official said.
BLACK MARKET FOOD prices exacerbate the
situation, officials say. Half-litter containers of milk,
officially pegged at about 35 cents, are sold illegally
onUganda street corners for about $3.50.
In war-torn Ethiopia, officials this week turned to
the West with a desperate appeal for drought relief.
Relief officials estimate 1.5 million people are in
refugee camps.
Ethiopia's rulers, who apparently suppressed news
of the disaster earlier, took Western diplomats and
Pope Paul U
greets 1
people in
W. Africa
(Continued from Page 8)
blue striped sarong, leather thong
sandals and a black cap with gold
medallions. He was accompanied by
the chiefs of the entire Ashanti nation, -
each carrying a gilded staff with a
carved animal on top and escorted by a
band of flute and drum players.
chieftain's retinue were festooned with
gold representations of fish, eagles and ]
The pontiff greeted the king briefly in m
English as Ashanti drummers pounded
out an insistant beat, counterpointed by
the clanging of brass cymbals and
The 61-year-old King is a baptized
Anglican and has practiced his religion
since the age of 5. His Ashanti tribe was
powerful from the 15th to the 19th MlIT
centuries and gained fame in the
Western world between 1826 and 1900 by
fighting the British to a standstill,
leaving the colonists confined to a
narrow strip of coastline.
As the Pope approached, standing in
President Hilla Limann's black Land
Rover, the crowds burst into a
screaming ecstasy in the warmest
welcome the pope has yet received on
hi1- ay si -nation Af ica9 [qur
According to varioup e irp p,
than a million people greeted the pope.

relief agency representatives on an official tour.
Ethiopian officials said that in the Oganden region
alone more than a million of the region's 3 million
people are starving.
RELIEF OFFICIALS FEAR the crisis in Ethiopia
might reach the proportions of the Wollo province
famine of 1973 which claimed the lives of 200,000
Ethiopia is fighting a hit-and-run war against
ethnic Somalis trying to separate the Ogaden from
Ethiopia and annex it to Somalia.
Ethiopia also is fighting secessionists in its
northeastern province of Eritrea, which provides the
country's only outlet to the sea.
The Soviet Union sends military support to
Ethiopia but apparently has given very little aid for
drought victims. Elisbeth Hellberg, a Swedish
journalist who visited the stricken area recently, said
she only saw one Soviet helicopter delivering food.
HELLBERG SAID ONE Ethiopian official told
her: "We've got-friends who help us with the military
hardware but when we need other assistance we have
to turn to the West."
Nearly 1,000 people a day are flooding into refugee
camps in Somalia from Ethiopia, its hostile Marxist-
ruled neighbor, officials for World Vision
International inLondon said yesterday.
World Vision, a California-based agency,
announced a 420,000 pound-$496,000-relief program
starting next week. The group estimates there are 1.5
million refugees in Somalia, which has a total
population of less than 4 million. The group said
Somalia has "the largest refugee problem in the

MELISSA WELLS, HEAD of the United Nations
Development Program in Uganda, said after a tour of
the Karamoja region that five children were being
buried each day at one Roman Catholic mission at
Some 4 million Ugandans, nearly a third of the
population, are affected by drought in the northern
half of the country, aid donors say.
Western aid officials estimate that more than 15,000
tons of food have been delivered or earmarked for
Uganda since March 1, when President Godfrey
Binaisa appealed for help. Officials say much more
food is needed but add that distributing it in Uganda
is difficult.
"IN THE DROUGHT areas, people cooperate.
They have to.Down here is the problem. If it fell to
the government, it would take years to distribute
what we've sent," an aid official said.
The Ugandan government says the legacy of eight
years of military dictatorship under Idi Amin has left
the nation morally-and financially-bankrupt.
Amin took power in a military coup in 1971 and was
overthrown last year by Ugandan exiles and
Tanzanian troops.
Neither the European Common Market or the
World Food Program, the two largest donor-
coordinators, uses government agencies to transport
their food. They rely upon the church of Uganda and
Catholic missions.
Donors ask country hospitals to send trucks to
Kampala to pick up medicines. Medicines given
directly to the government* are often sold in
Kampala's black market and never leave the city.

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