U.S. planes carry emergency supplies to Ethiopian flood victims
By Vince Crawley, Washington File Staff Writer
Washington - The U.S. Air Force has helped transport more than 80 metric tons of food and emergency relief supplies to flood victims in the ethnic Somali region of southeastern Ethiopia, U.S. government officials said November 13.
Working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules transport airplane carried more than 40 metric tons of relief supplies to the city of Gode, Ethiopia, beginning November 10, according to an announcement from the U.S. Central Command. The supplies came from sites in Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa run by Ethiopia's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency.
Over the next several days, U.S. aircraft helped transport a total of 46 metric tons of food and 36 metric tons of nonfood items such as water containers, blankets, water-purification tablets and cooking pots, the Voice of America news service reported November 14.
Additional flights are planned, U.S. officials said.
"To help supply thousands of people with basic necessities of survival -- this is mission accomplishment," U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Tim Moon, deputy commander of the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), said November 10. The task force operates out of Djibouti to help mitigate hardship conditions that could foster terrorism.
Flash flooding in the past two weeks caused the Shabele River to burst its banks in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, near the border with Somalia. The region was also hard hit by heavy rains in August.
"Gode zone is completely cut off by road to the outside world because of flooding," IRC Country Director David Murphy said November 10. "We hear reports that there are trucks loaded with emergency relief [supplies] stranded in the surrounding area but unable to get through. We're just lucky that we can airlift our emergency relief via the U.S. military."
Throughout Ethiopia, flooding has killed more than 630 people and taken a heavy toll on livestock and agriculture, the U.S. Department of Defense said.
USAID announced November 9 that it will provide $37 million in emergency food assistance to support World Food Programme operations in Ethiopia. The agency said the donation is expected to help feed approximately 3 million people through December.
U.S. Department of Defense news release about the emergency flights .
USAID news release about the $37 million in food assistance.