Ethiopian Famine 1984-85 Essay

Ethiopia is the second most crowded nation in Africa. Its across the Red Sea from Yemen and its the country with the most mountains on the continent of Africa. “It borders Kenya on the south, Somalia on the east, Eritrea on the north, and Sudan on the west, and also the small state of Djibouti on the northeast” ( ETHIOPIAN FAMINE RELIEF 1984-85, 2005).

In the 70’s a famine swept through Ethiopia leaving tremendous devastation, the country never recovered from this drought. The effects from the drought were felt by almost all countries of the African Sahel, by the mid 80’s the effects the drought had on the Ethiopian government were starting to surface.

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The Ethiopian government was not capable of giving the relief needed from crop failure. Six million people depended on the crops for survival. Relief supplies came from the north but were halted by Eritrean rebels, because the administration could not give sufficient security for the passage the supplies traveled.

The Ethiopian government gave little response to the crisis. The regime was internationally denounced because of their lack of response to the famine. Ethiopian policies dealing with economics and ineffective political strategies disapproved of, the administration was accused of committing violations to human rights after there were reports that food was kept from reaching areas occupied by rebels. The irredeemable and increasingly unpopular government needed to do something fast. They implemented a forceful resettling more than a half million people in two years to areas in the South from the north.

Another program implemented by the government was going into effect around the same time. The program was called villageization. Planed villages were constructed and people affected by the famine were forced to move to them. Although this was a plan for famine relief, the promises of the government never came true. Those who moved to the newly constructed village were told they would have clean water, hospitals and good schools. None of this ever came true. Several human rights organizations became involved when this program unexpectedly made a fall in agricultural productivity.

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Several of the United Nations agencies lead Relief campaigns, including UN Food and Agriculture Organization, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UN Disaster and Relief Agency and the U.S. Agency for Internal Development. The transportation system was improved by the Canadian External Relations who donated 500,000 Canadian dollars as an effort to calm the perturbing problems largely interfered with the efforts for famine relief. The Canadian government donated nearly 60 million Canadian dollars in 1984-85.

Unfortunately, further misfortunes came to those affected by the famine. In 1985, the average of 50 people a day was dying from a cholera epidemic that moved through relief camps. “The government never officially said there was a presence of cholera within the country, but panic was widespread by aid workers who were aware that it could spread fast because of the lack of water and poor hygiene. Immunizations of camp residents were never planned for even though it was known that the disease is highly contagious and often fatal.” (ETHIOPIAN FAMINE RELIEF 1984-85, 2005) Relief centers became breeding grounds for infectious disease. Just as many people died from choler as from starvation.

Because the world was watching the Ethiopian government’s accused human rights violations, eventually relief camps made an improvement, also imporving the lives of the residents residing there. A three day tour was taken by mother Teresa in 1985, she visited some of the relief camps; she complimented the noticeable difference in the people since her prior visit eight moths before. “six centers for victoms of the 84-85 famine were ran by Mother Teresa’s Calcutta-based religious order in Ethiopia” (Giving hope to a world of need, 2007).

On July 13, 1985, at Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Stadiums and London’s Wembley, rock musics most successful event history took place. “The concert connected 1.5 billion people tuned into the concert by satellite in more than 160 countries to raise money for Ethiopian famine victims. Irish-born pop singer Bob Geldof who was the Live Aid organizer, , reportedly expected to raise in the ball park from 15 to 50 million dollars, he underestimated and the concert collected around 60 million dollars (84′ Famine, 2004).

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After thirteen years of oppressive military rule, a new nation was born in September of 1987. The People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was ruled by a new civilian constitution with a popular elected National Assembly.

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