Crime through food deprivation: the implications of recent reports by UN/WFP – By Zeleke
Recent reports from different reliable sources, such as the BBC, Afrik and the Australian Broadcast Corporation, divulge that the UN/WFP has run out of food to provide for five to nine million Ethiopians who rely on its assistance. While this news by itself is surprising in view of the huge (probably sufficient) amount of food aid given to the Ethiopian government for many years and the government’s repeated claim of achieving a reduction in the number of starving people, as discussed below, it is extremely troubling to learn that the government is deliberately exacerbating the problem in order to sustain the agony of the staving people. Critics say that the government follows this policy to help itself stay in power and benefit its officials and supporters, by having control of the population through the means of starvation and extracting donors as much as possible. The highlights of the measures taken/being taken by the government in this regard are presented briefly.
The port of Dijibouti on the Gulf of Eden is the only site through which food supplies are imported into Ethiopia for distribution to the starving population. However, this port is almost always highly congested and there is little prospect of supplies arriving in the near future. Ironically, while Ethiopia was/is entitled to keep its own sea outlet (Asseb) for the service of its 80 million people, about two decades ago when Eritrea was separated, the Zenawi government decided to make Ethiopia landlocked. During that time, Zenawi told Ethiopians and others that Ethiopia did not need any see outlet. This problem is now contributing to the death of millions of Ethiopians who depend on imported items, such us food, for their survival.
In the face of the obvious presence of famine and the acceptance of the existence of millions of starving people in Ethiopia by the international community, such as the UN/WFP, Ethiopian government representatives in the UK (including the current Ambassador) and elsewhere bluntly deny that there is no food crisis in Ethiopia. By so doing, the government is limiting the supply of food to those who desperately need it, thus adding to the famine problem in the country.
It has been reported that the entry of food aid into Ethiopia via the available port of Djibouti has been hampered time and again by the Ethiopian government in favor of importing goods and items that are intended to benefit government officials and TPLF ruling party members through business profits. Fertilizers, specifically mentioned by the UN/WFP representatives interviewed, are lucrative items imported with priority for this purpose.
The transport of food from the docks of Djibouti to Ethiopia and the delivery of already imported food to the starving population by foreign agencies, including the UN/WFP, are prevented by Ethiopian government authorities by disallowing them from having the means of transportation (foe example, trucks) from any available sources, including the neighboring Sudan. This is another measure being taken by the government to torment and further weaken the starving helpless people and take advantage of the resulting effect.
As indicated in the article, children, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers are more severely affected by the existing shortage of food and that expected to emerge soon. From research findings, it is likely that such a problem can have a long-lasting negative effect on the mental and physical developments of children. Mentally and physically underdeveloped or impaired citizens are highly prone to be less competitive in the present and future complex world of ours and this possible scenario could have a devastating impact on the future development of the country.
Therefore, the present Ethiopian government lead by Meles Zenawi is not only engaged in promoting the starvation and death of millions of innocent Ethiopians through food deprivation but it is also destroying the future generation of the country. This act should be considered crime against humanity and the very existence of Ethiopians as a country in the community of nations. Numerous other actions taken by this regime against the people of Ethiopia also corroborate this conclusion.