Famine in Ogaden deliberately underestimated by Ethiopia and UN Agencies
Famine in Ogaden deliberately underestimated by the Ethiopian government and UN agencies in Ogaden.
The failure of two consecutive rains in Ogaden, has killed thousands of livestock and many vulnerable people in Ogaden. Most regions in Ogaden have extreme water shortages, no pasture for livestock and food supplies have drastically dwindled. What is even more lethal is the ongoing, aid, trade and media blockade that has gravely reduced the capacity of the people to use their own coping mechanism. Many families who get remittance support from family members abroad report that their money has no value since there is no food to buy due to the restrictive policies on trade and aid. In addition, ICRC and major international NGOs are banned from the Ogaden. In addition, there are no local or international free media outlets to report the severity of the famine.
Another sinister development is the spread of cholera in Ogaden, which the Ethiopian government is doing its best to hide. Just two days ago, the only Somali Doctor, together with dozen victims succumbed to the cholera and died in Qabri-dehar. Similarly, many deaths are reported in Nogob and Shabelle regions. In Doollo (Wardheer) and Afdheer regions people and livestock are perishing for lack water, although the other regions are suffering.
Although both the Ethiopian government and the UN agencies in Ogaden mention the presence of “drought”, however, the Ethiopian government systematically underestimate its severity and the UN toes the line. Furthermore, the Ethiopian government is more interested in projecting false image about the Ogaden, than taking care of the victims of the draught. The Prime minister made a surprise visit to the region and a pastoral day festival was held in Jigjiga, while thousands of pastoralist families are dying in adjacent villages.
ONLF urgently appeals to the international community to come to the aid of Ogaden people and force Ethiopia to open for international NGOs to provide the aid needed. Unless urgent aid reaches the Ogaden, this famine will be much worse than 2002 catastrophe.
For immediate release