U.S. Air Force delivered food and relief supplies Friday to flood victims in eastern Ethiopia

November 13th, 2006 Print Print Email Email

The Ledger | November 13, 2006

Asnake GODE, Ethiopia (AP) | November 13,2006- The U.S. Air Force delivered food and relief supplies Friday to flood victims in eastern Ethiopia, where at least 80 people have died and tens of thousands have been left homeless.The crew of the C-130 cargo plane was making several deliveries of food, water containers, plastic sheeting, bedding and water purification materials in a two-day operation near the Somali border, said spokesman Capt. Jonathan Friedman. Some 48 tons of aid were delivered Friday.

Ethiopia’s Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency said flooding had killed least 80 people and left more than 217,000 homeless in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. More than 360,000 people have been affected.

The crew said it was happy to be a part of the humanitarian mission in one of the poorest countries in the world. Operation Unity Eclipse was a joint effort by the Ethiopian agency and the U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa.

“In all my years since I have been doing this job this is one of the more interesting missions I have been involved with,” said Tech. Sgt. James M. Cope of Abilene, Texas. “I am a long way from home, but this kind of mission is the reason I joined the military.”

Michael McCord, an aid official with the U.S. government said military aircraft were providing vital help in reaching remote areas, many cut off by flooded roads. “This is defense, diplomacy and development in action,” he told The Associated Press.

Seasonal rains have been extremely heavy this year, causing widespread flooding in Ethiopia and Somalia. Floods in August left more than 630 people dead and nearly 200,000 homeless and took heavy tolls on agriculture and livestock.

In Somalia, 20 people have died from floods in the past three days, Somali officials said. More than 100 villages were hit by flooding and 80,000 people were displaced.

The U.S.-led task force, based in neighboring Djibouti, has 1,800 troops assigned to fight terrorism in the Horn of Africa by promoting regional development, training local soldiers and collecting intelligence.

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