A British-based international relief organisation, Oxfam, has reported that the famine in the drought-hit region of Ogaden in Ethiopia, could prove to be worse in the long term, than that which the country suffered in the 1973 drought, when thousand of people died.
MV & SV Children of Nomad tribes.. men in refugee village in the Ogaden (3 shots)
MCU Emaciated children sitting on mat (2 shots)
CU Mother holding emaciated child
MCU German nurse holding starving child
MUC English Nurse holding starving child and handing it to mother
CU Young starving child in nurse's arms
CU Child drinking from big mug
MV Children receiving food
MV Young children being given food by nurse
CU Mother and child with children standing around
MV Ethiopian soldier walks to jeep followed by others
MV Mother wait for food hand-out
CU Young child covered in sores and flies
MV Mother and children
TRANSCRIPT: OSMAN: The Ogaden is one of the world's vast scrublands. And for centuries, hundred of thousand of nomads with their cattle and camels have managed to scrape a living out of its thousands of square miles of burning wilderness - until now, that is. For famine has followed three years of drought. At this particular relief camp, children are dying every day of sheer starvation. Those nearest to death - or at least those nearest to death who can be found - are brought to this intensive feeding unit. Other children, plainly ill and hungry but not in such extremeness as those in the intensive feeding unit, get milk, food and basic medical attention which puts them on the road to a slow recovery. This is described as a supplementary service. But the recipients of course, don't really care whether they are being helped to maintain a tenuous hold on life in a supplementary way or an intensive way. Whatever the official jargon employed on these issues of life and death, the recipient is just glad to be alive, even though it may not show much. This Kabrida H-Camp with twelve thousand famine refugees is the biggest of fourteen such establishments which have sprung up in the past few months in Ogaden. The camps in the region hold all together about seventy thousand destitutes - all of Somali descent, the Ogaden having for long been a disputed border area between Ethiopia and Somalia. The ubiquitous presence of the Ethiopian army is a reminder of potential international stresses, which add a further unpredictable edge to the way in which the problem is tackled. In the Ogaden alone, half a million people have been hit in one way or the other by the drought. But over by the drought. But over and above the Ogaden agony, it is stated officially that up to one third of Ethiopia is still affected by drought.
Initials BB/1855 CL/2300
This film is serviced with a sound commentary by reporter, John Osman.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A British-based international relief organisation, Oxfam, has reported that the famine in the drought-hit region of Ogaden in Ethiopia, could prove to be worse in the long term, than that which the country suffered in the 1973 drought, when thousand of people died.
An Oxfam spokesman said on Thursday (5 June) that it did not expect the death toll to go as high as it did in 1973 when drought hit vast areas of the Wollo region. But the long-term situation in Ogaden was worse, because most of the people there were nomads who had lost their livestock.
The spokesman said that it would take much longer for the nomads of Ogaden to recover after losing their animals, whereas in Wollo, the situation had returned to something like normal fairly quickly. In Ogaden there was the prospect of continuing malnutrition.
Some five hundred thousand people were suffering because of the famine, and poor communications were hampering relief work. The spokesman said it was hard to give exact figures because the people were nomadic, but already thousand had died.
In the past few months the people had been flocking to fourteen refugee camps in the region which have sprung up since the drought began. They stay in the camp hoping for the meagre food hand-outs that relief organisation distribute, and medical help -- mainly for their starving children.
It is estimated that there are about seventy thousand destitute refugees in the camps. All of them are of Somali decent, because for a long time the Ogaden region has been the subject of a border dispute between Ethiopia and Somalia.
Reporter, John Osman, visited the largest of the fourteen refugee camps, where twelve thousand nomads have gathered. The only medical attention is provided by two nurses -- one from Germany, the other from England.