Ethiopia faces disaster as ‘green hunger’ takes hold

June 28th, 2008 | by addis portal |

Published: 28/06/2008

Tens of thousands of Ethiopians are on the brink of starving to death as a result of a massive food shortage.

Some 3,200 children and women have been admitted to food treatment programmes in just one southern region in recent weeks as the effects of an eight-month drought takes hold of rural communities.

A further 32 children in a critical condition from starvation, malaria and other illnesses were sent to stabilisation clinics where eight remain. Three have since died. Soaring food prices have compounded the crisis.

The seven-hour drive from the buzzing capital of Addis Ababa to the heart of rural Ethiopia is deceptive.

The countryside is green, trees are in full bloom and in some areas water still runs through river beds. The temperatures are cool and dark clouds hang overhead but they pass without rain.

But behind the picturesque landscape, the “green hunger” has gripped the countryside and its people are starving to death.

The results of a long drought are evident. Crops have failed, livestock have died and people are hungry.

In 2003, some 14.3million people were affected by a similar crisis.

Abraham Asha, of Irish aid agency Concern, said the figures are alarming.

“The very old and young could die if this drought continues,” he said.

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