• Short Summary


    The United Nations World Food Council (WFC) is to hold its tenth ministerial session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from June 11 to 15.

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    1. ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA: GVs & SVs Delegates applaud as Mengistu arrives. Delegates listen to Mengistu speech. (3 SHOTS) 0.26
    2. UNDISCLOSED DESTINATION, ETHIOPIA: SVs Eritrean guerrillas fire machine guns and mortars. Tank along road. (4 SHOTS) 0.37
    3. ADI-GALA, ETHIOPIA; SEPTEMBER 20, 1983: GV PAN Towns people with flowers. SV Refugees at train windows. GV Refugee camp with welcome sign. (4 SHOTS) 0.58
    4. ITANG, NEAR BORDER WITH SUDAN, MAY 6, 1984: AVs Tents and huts. GV & SV Piled sacks of maize. SCU Danial Deng Lual, spokesman for the refugees, speaking. (SOT) GVs & SVs People cooking maize on open fire. (6 SHOTS) 1.51
    5. KAYAKOBE & VARIOUS, MAY 1984: GVs & SVs Refugees. Women with children. CUs Dry wells. (6 SHOTS) 2.22
    6. DEGHABUR, MAY 1984: GVs & SVs Carcasses of dead goats, cattle, camel and cows, (4 SHOTS) 2.33
    7. UNITED NATIONS, MAY 1984: SCU Dawit Gorgise, Chairman of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, speaks. (SOT) 3.00
    8. KELAFO, NEAR SOMALI BORDER, ETHIOPIA, MAY 1984: SVs & GVs Villagers with herds of goats. Children with water container. CU ZOOM OUT Man praying for rain. Cattle grazing on parched grass. (5 SHOTS) 3.24
    9. HARRAWA, MAY 1984: GVs & SCUs Train arrives with water. Derailed water containers. Dust blowing over parched land. (4 SHOTS) 3.46
    10. UNITED NATIONS, MAY 1984: SCU Dawit Gorgise speaking. (SOT) 4.03
    DENG LUAL: (SEQ 4) "It is a very difficult life here, and we have been sleeping under trees and we are suffering no good food, no good, water. But what can we do? We are fearing our country for the killing of the lives of our people. It is very difficult here, but we are managing to stay. What can we do? There's no way out to go back to the country where there's no peace. That is why we manage to stay here in Itang."
    GORGISE: (SEQ 7) "As far as relief activities for the 5.3 million people concerned, we have allowanced for 45,000 tonnes. We have not, as I said earlier, we have not yet received significant amount of assistance, even though there are indications. But unless we get shipments within the coming two months, I have indicated to the International Committee that there will be a catastrophe."
    GORGISE: (SEQ 10) "It is unfortunate that some governments are using food as a political instrument. This trend is a very disturbing trend, and I have appealed to the International Committee to stop this trend of using food as a political instrument."

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved


    The United Nations World Food Council (WFC) is to hold its tenth ministerial session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from June 11 to 15. The 36-nation forum will discuss the global food situation at a time of increasing international concern about the severity of the current African food crisis. The debated will take place in a country where several millions are threatened with death as a result of a two-year drought. In all, 24 countries in Africa, from Zimbabwe in the south to Gambia in the west, are facing grave food shortages. Relief agencies estimate that almost 1.6 million tonnes of food are needed, and almost 100 million dollars in aid, to meet needs caused by drought, livestock disease and civil strife.

    SYNOPSIS: Ethiopia has been ruled by the Marxist military government of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam for seven years. He came to power in 1977 after Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed following a severe drought. Apart form the country's long drought, the food shortages have also been compounded by political problems.

    In Eritrea, Africa's longest guerilla war has been fought against secessionists. The war has been going on for more than 20 years and has meant a severe financial drain on the economy.

    In addition, tens of thousands of refugees from Somalia have crossed the border into Ethiopia in recent months. These Ethiopian refugees were on the first train to leave from Djibouti in 1983 and they were met by cheering crowds. It was their first sight of home since the fighting began in 1977.

    The imposition of martial law in the Sudan on April 29 sent thousands of Sudanese into the already overcrowded Ethiopian refugee camps. Last year, there were some the already overcrowded Ethiopian refugee camps. Last year there were some 10,000 refugees at Itang, but now their numbers have risen to 40,000. The refugees claim their villages in the Sudan were burnt, their women raped and the crops destroyed.

    A spokesman for the fleeing Sudanese described their plight:
    The plight of these refugees is made all the more acute by imminent heave rainfall. Once it starts it will be increasingly difficult for supplies to be transported to the camps.

    The drought has hit large areas of the country previously unaffected. The worst-hit regions are Wollo province with more than 1.7 million people, Tigray with 1.3 million affected and Eritrea with almost one million victims. Both Tigray and Eritrea are the scene of secessionist revolts which hinder aid distribution aid. These dry wells symbolise the plight of the people.

    Livestock and grazing land have been particularly hard hit. The head of Ethiopia's Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, Dawit Gorgise, says unless there was massive relief the majority of the 5.2 million people affected by the worst drought in years could die.

    An additional problem was that villagers were fleeing drought-stricken area and flocking into camps like these, leaving their only means of livelihood behind. The Ethiopian Government says up to 30,000 Somalis had sought refuge in Ethiopia.

    Water arrives by train form Djibouti. But even this precious cargo is not safe from guerilla attacks. Dawit Gorgise says no food shipments had arrived since the end of March and he accused some countries of deliberately withholding aid.


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