INTRODUCTION: The combination of drought and war has brought severe food shortages to two regions of Ethiopia: the north, affected by the war in Eritrea, and the east, the Ogaden.
GV People gather in village to meet Red Cross team (2 shots) 14
CU Mothers and children seated on ground (2 shots)
SV PAN Interpreter passes on Red Cross instructions to people listening
GV Crowd in village
SV Red Cross worker picks up hungry child
GV Finnish Red Cross worker marshals women
SV Medical worker examines child
GV Red Cross worker hands out food to line of people (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The combination of drought and war has brought severe food shortages to two regions of Ethiopia: the north, affected by the war in Eritrea, and the east, the Ogaden. But the people of the far south of the country are also suffering, from the lack of rainfall that is affecting much of East Africa.
SYNOPSIS: This is Gemu Gwefa province, close to the border with Kenya. It is more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) south of the capital, Addis Ababa -- and not all that far, as distance is reckoned in Africa, from Uganda's drought-stricken region, Karamoja. The people say they have had no rain at all for the past two years. Inevitably, crops have failed; there is no food for the cattle and little milk, and the children go hungry.
A Red Cross team from Finland is working in the Hammur and Bako districts of the province. Its members give medical advice to the mothers, and a local volunteer translates it into their own language.
He is telling them how to make the best use of such supplies as are available; how to make their limited water supplies safe to drink; and how best to treat the diseases that follow in the wake of years of poor nutrition.
The starved bodies of the small children tell the story. The famine is not on the massive scale of Karamoja; the region is less heavily populated. But it has not caught the world's attention in the same way, or attracted as much international charitable aid. A European medical worker or aid expert is a relatively rare sight in southern Ethiopia.
The government has urgent problems in the north and east, where huge numbers of refugees have to be fed as well as the drought victims. In the south, the Red Cross is doing its best to help keep the people alive until the rains come again.