Memories and images of the 1984 famine in Ethiopia are fresh in many people's minds. Walking and crawling skeletons of the young and old alike. A million people died during that famine.
The ugly face of famine is revisiting Ethiopia in 2003. Over 11 million people are in need of emergency external assistance. If significant action is not taken now and immediately, and rains fail once again, the scale of the famine of 2003 promises to dwarf that of 1984.
On a positive note un-seasonal December rains have mitigated the effects in some parts of Ethiopia. However the signs are not all too optimistic in other areas. Rains have again been inadequate in the Afar and Somali regions. Latest reports from the zones visited by Islamic Relief during early December 2002 indicate there is huge out-migration of animals from drought affected areas; weak and vulnerable persons are being left behind in remote villages; rates of acute malnutrition is increasing and there are more frequent reports of people suffering from runny and bloody diarrhea. Carcasses of dead animals can be found in former grazing areas.
Islamic Relief has today approved a $200,000 programme to assist people in the Shinille Zone, in the Somali Region of North-Eastern Ethiopia. The project is designed to assist the drought-affected pastoral & agro-pastoral community living in the four districts of the zone, namely: Dambal, Afdem, Aisha and Shinille. The various components of the programme when combined will support approximately 32,400 individuals from a target group of 55,300 needy persons, through:
- Tankering up to 32,000 litres of water
a day for 60 days to 4 sites daily. The sites are in remote villages facing
critical water shortages - the residents of which have access to no potable
water for radiuses of up to 45 km. Under normal circumstances women and
children often have to walk for more than 6 hours a day to collect water.
- Rehabilitating and restoring 10 existing
fixed water sources that have become dysfunctional due to faulty or missing
parts or lack of maintenance and/or sedimentation e.g. motorised boreholes,
deep wells, shallow and hand dug wells.
- Provision of 121.5 metric tonnes of emergency supplementary food for malnourished persons particularly children, mothers and elderly, thus helping to safeguard the health and nutritional status of highly vulnerable persons.