Government officials in Ethiopia have been describing the drought in the Ogaden desert as worse than the Wollo disaster where some 200-thousand people are believed to have died in 1973.
TRACKING SHOT Relief camps
GV Officials arriving
SV Red Cross jeep
SV Red Cross official talking to villagers (2 shots)
CU Government officials talking to relief officers
GV & SV Drought victims waiting for food outside shelters (4 shots)
CU Child suffering from malnutrition (2 shots)
SV Sick boy awaiting medical treatment outside shelter
SV Drought victims entering camp for food
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Background: Government officials in Ethiopia have been describing the drought in the Ogaden desert as worse than the Wollo disaster where some 200-thousand people are believed to have died in 1973.
But reports from the area claim that these officials are exaggerating the need for grain, equipment and money and are accusing foreign governments of apathy and human sacrifice in not providing more and swifter aid.
Foreign relief officials, on the other hand, say privately that sufficient grain is already on hand and that it is the Ethiopian Government's maladministration of the drought relief that is worsening what is already a major crisis.
The Ethiopian Relief and Rehabilitation Commission has asked for 250-thousand tons of grain for Ogaden relief, plus 370 trucks and vast sums of money.
However, one foreign relief official calculates that about five thousand tones of food could feed everyone in Ogaden relief camps for six months.
Whatever the situation, though, one thing is certain, and that is that hundred of people, especially children, are dying of starvation in the region.
The Ogaden drought is the same as the Somali drought. It is the same nomadic people, the same overgrazing by cattle, goats, sheep and camels, the same lack of rain, and children dying in the same way.
Children, weakened by malnutrition, have been taken to relief camps. But sanitation is virtually non-existent and diarrhoea has spread rapidly. Many have died of dehydration.
Other reports on the drought make even more grim reading. One says: "The most common diseases found in the relief centres are (in addition to diarrhoea) malaria, measles, tuberculosis, pneumonia, bronchitis, whooping cough and eye diseases."