Needs of Ethiopians pale beyond foods, when their pressing civic requirements – freedoms, democracy, human rights & dignity – are considered

16 Mar

Editor’s Note:

    The existence of a notional 10.2 million needy people in Ethiopia, bordering the fictional, has entered its seventh month. The tune is very interesting that everyone these days is singing their prayers about the drought from the same hymn book. This must be the most frustrating experience for international humanitarian workers with cause and commitment.

    There is not doubt that Ethiopians are not receiving adequate local or international humanitarian aid. The usual excuse on the media and coming out of the mouths especially of some international officials, attributing the problem to the limits of international humanitarian community’s capacity to stretch its hands beyond Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, etc., may have some merits, although is superficial, at best, and deceptive at its worst.

    Why do I hold such view? I could claim some good intuition into TPLF’s inexhaustible capability for deception. After all, the Front accepted the 10.2 million needy people figure in Ethiopia’s current drought after several months of pressure by int’l coverages, NGO’s and a few donors about the extent of the drought in Ethiopia, the widespread hunger and for fear to prevent it from becoming famine in no time without adequate international assistance.

    In this connexion, one also needs to thank the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) for the effective leadership it has provided, inconsistent though.

    In the circumstances, the TPLF regime would have liked there to be no drought or hunger in Ethiopia. This is not out of concern for the Ethiopian people but for the its image and the too much ‘idealized economic growth strategy’. This was started under direct command of dictator Meles Zenawi especially after the 2011 drought. Such an approach was supported by carefully orchestrated propaganda and spin.

    For Ethiopians, nonetheless, they have long learned from their daily lives that the double-digit economic growth propaganda has long and substantially been even far removed from any semblance of the possible, wherein ethnic members of the Front and those with connections have only prospered.

    Fortunately, thanks to the pressure from NGOs, the media (surely not Ethiopian) and a few donors that wanted the true story to be told have succeeded upto a point. On a gradual basis, the number of the hungry jumped from 4.2 million to 8.0 million and then to today’s 10.2 million, which sounds cast on stone. Sadly, even those that earlier showed courage to speak out have surrendered and today the hungry in Ethiopia are remain as immutable at 10.2 million.

    Surprise! Surprise! This number does not include the chronically international humanitarian aid dependents, numbering another 10 million – mostly legacy of the 2006 15 million drought affected Ethiopians on lands that can no longer meet human needs.

    Sadly, its fictional success is being sold around the world as the Ethiopian safety net program, with the United States, United Kingdom and the World Bank trying to impose it on an unsuspecting aid recipient poor nations. The truth is their productive safety net program (PSNP) is hardly known for its success, i.e., it has failed to graduate its chronic dependents from their aid dependency to self-supporting adults and family members.

    Surely, the TPLF is happy to sing its praises. This is because it receives in the name of unfortunate fellow citizens an annual $640 million from donors through the World Bank. Even the institution is derisively known as the Ethiopia cheque-writer for its political mission in the country than its economic, technical and institutional support!

    To put it mildly, we now know that when it comes to who and how many people are hungry in Ethiopia today, all international humanitarian actors have surrendered to the TPLF dictat. It has brought out to light that the permanent and famous 10.2 million drought-stricken and hungry Ethiopians number has since Septemeber 2015 become the ugly song in everyone’s recital book.

    In other words, in reality 10.2 million has become the TPLF’s Maginot Line – I borrow from the French War Minister André Maginot in World War Two, who built the most unsuccessful fortifications, obstacles and weapon installations against war on the French side of the borders with Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg during the 1930s. Its aim was to stop any Nazi incursions and attacks against France.

    Similarly, in Ethiopia the TPLF has rendered all local and international ‘do-gooders’ wanting to help the sick, hungry and needy Ethiopians willing accomplices. They have received instruction not to utter any other number, especially as pertains to the hungry or deaths or magnitude of the drought other than what the regime authorizes.

    Therefore, even the extent of Ethiopian drought and hunger is only determined by the ethnic minority regime. It is terrorized by worries any other information could damage its reputation and the ‘double-digit economic growths mantra’ that modern slick propaganda has made the country investors’ darling. For donors, such cover-ups and good wraps are essential, since if they show raking huge profits at the expense of a hungry nation would push donors aways, thereby jinxing the trickling investments.

    Government spokesperson Getachew Reda, known for his making up niumbers and facts as he goes along, he has the mantras that success resides in less than being candidand honest has made sure the world understood that there is drought in Ethiopia, but Ethiopia with its dougle-digit growths was capable of taking care of its own.

    Not by any stretch of the imagination bothered by the dividing line between truth and lies is also the man in the Ethiopian prime minster’s office. He was the first to shoot the salvo for this approach. In August 2015, when he addressed the Ethiopian diaspora in Addis Abeba he publicly said that donors were all over our officials, sniffing around showing interest in stretching their hands to the hungry in Ethiopia.

    This, he said was because they assumed that the Ethiopia under the TPLF would be dependent on their aid for its drought stricken-people. He added that, when Ethiopian officials were hounded by donors with aid, donors were told that the TPLF regime would use its resources to feed its hungry people.

    In the world of the TPLF, I have long stopped being surprised by anything they say or allude, especially official duplicity, pretensions and turning lies into policies is an everyday art.

    Bad for them, here we go, Reuters is furnishing us with information that the TPLF is now preparing to shed some tears before donors requesting them to provide it with substantially increased international humanitarian assistance toward the poor hungry citizens, whose number remains at 10.2 million, as hunger spreads.

    The pressure on the regime to make this appeal has come from both the severity of the problem in rural Ethiopia and the rising anger of hungry people. While this danger was building the regime has been telling the world its successes in food distribution.

    Its concern now is that not willing to be contained by armed militia, the hungry are preparing to march out into the streets, towns and cities. It would not be a surprise, if they face the habitual TPLF’s response – shooting them in the forests or in streets, instead of giving them food!

    Ethiopia’s humanitarian assistance needs are now estimated as the third largest in the world, preceded by Syria and Yemen.

    Ethiopians have reached a point where and when the regime can no longer hide the needs and requirements of the Ethiopian people. They also clamor for civic needs, such as freedom, democracy and human dignity!

 

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
 

NAIROBI, March 15 (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s government and aid agency leaders are revising upwards their joint $1.4 billion appeal for more than 10 million people hit by the country’s worst drought in 50 years.

“Surges in humanitarian needs are already registered since… December,” the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

“Considering the reported spike in need, the government and the Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team agreed to update the HRD,” it said, referring to the Humanitarian Requirements Document, the original appeal launched in December.

The team is re-assessing so-called hotspot areas where hunger is worst and should complete their work in three weeks, the United Nations said.

The appeal is the third largest in the world after those for Syria and Yemen, and about half the $1.4 billion has been raised.

The number of farmers urgently needing seeds to plant during the rainy season has risen to 3.3 million from 2.2 million in December, and drought-affected people excluded from the December appeal have also been seeking food aid, the United Nations said.

The inadequate response to the original appeal means there is a shortage of food aid and malnutrition will increase dramatically if donor money runs out in May, the United Nations has said.
 

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