Vast Drought Disaster Threatens
A vast drought across
Drought has ravaged crops
across the country with the
In August the Ethiopian government requested nearly the same amount of relief they requested in the drought of 1985, 1.1 million tons of food. That estimate is thought to be a low number this time around. The head of relief operations, Michael Priestley, says the donations are satisfactory but the lack of transportation is the major obstacle. They currently have 306 long-haul trucks and they need a minimum of 300 or more. During October’s rebel ambush the relief agency lost 23 trucks. After the ambush relief shipments stopped but have recently started up again despite rebel warnings.
The rebel group Eritrean People’s Liberation Front says they have a policy of no obstruction for relief activities but accuse the relief trucks of transporting military supplies to the Ethiopian army.
There were rains in June and
farmers planted crops but July was almost completely dry. There were rains again in August and
farmers again replanted, but the rains stopped again. The most severe drought is estimated to
Many blame the Ethiopian government because they force farmers to sell much of their harvest surpluses to the state at low prices. Western aid officials are negotiating with the government to revise their policy to reduce state intervention in farming.