Guerrilla fighting, drought and famine in the Ogaden region in the Horn of africa have sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing into refugee camps in recent months.
GV PAN People in rehabilitation centre at Degahabur, Ethiopia (2 shots)
SV Camel sitting down and children playing with women sitting down watching (4 shots)
SV Tribes people sitting down and milling round huts (2 shots)
SV Women going into hut, tribes people sitting down and tending children (4 shots)
SV Man handing out corn to camp members (3 shots)
SV Women and children eating
SV Children receiving food hand-outs (3 shots)
TRACKING SHOT Huts in camp
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Background: Guerrilla fighting, drought and famine in the Ogaden region in the Horn of africa have sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing into refugee camps in recent months. In May the Soviet-backed Ethiopian Government launched a major offensive against Somali guerrillas in the desert in an attempt to end the twenty-year-old conflict. Now they are faced with thousands of refugees who have trekked into central Ethiopia.
SYNOPSIS: At Degahabur more than seventeen thousand homeless people have flocked to the relief and rehabilitation centre. They have come here knowing that they will be given food by the United Nations and other relief organisations, and safety from the Ethiopian aircraft which have bombed many villages.
Somali troops pulled out of the Ogaden Desert in March 1978, but a guerrilla war has continued since. In May this year the Ethiopian military, aided by Cuban troops, launched an offensive against the Western Somali Liberation Forces in the desert driving them back to the border. The result has been a depopulation of much of the region with hundreds of thousands of refugees arriving at camps on both sides of the desert. The Somalis say Ethiopian troops and aircraft have mounted raids inside their territory.
These people are some of the five million considered to be vulnerable to famine as a result of drought and the war. In many regions herds of cattle have died and crops have failed. More and more people are migrating to camps. The Ethiopian Government is two billion U.S. dollars in debt to the Soviet Union, mainly for military purchases. The heavy dependence on Soviet aid has pressured the Government to embark on an extensive expansion of state farms for cash crops to raise needed foreign exchange. Coffee exports constitute about seventy-five percent of foreign earnings. But the peasant coffee producers profit on crops has been steadily deteriorating. Consequently there's a decline in food available to the peasants.
Ironically the production of export crops from the state sector is approaching record levels. The large-scale mechanised farms are not solving the food problem because those affected by the famine have no way of getting money to buy food. With the Government committed to a military solution to Ethiopia's problems, their future appears grim.
The refugees rely on hand-outs. While the war drains off funds and manpower which are needed for long term development they have no alternative.