Mar 21, 2011

Ogaden: Urgent Draught Mitigation Appeal

As a severe draught risks turning into a catastrophe similar to the 1984 famine, the international community is urged to start up emergency relief programs. 

Below is an appeal published by the Ogaden National Liberation Front:

15 March 2011

The Ogaden as with most Horn of African regions is under the grips of severe draught.  The Deir rains had failed and since then the livelihood of both people and livestock has been steadily deteriorating. The draught has now reached a stage where both people and animals are dying.  The draught in the Ogaden is more lethal than in other regions in the Horn of Africa because the regime of Meles Zenawi is not only denying the people international help, but is effectively obstructing them from utilizing their own resources.

One of the most urgent needs is water, especially in regions where water scarcity is acute. Water is most urgently needed in Doolo region (Wardher), Qorahey region (Qabri Daharre), Jarar region (Degahbur) and the Southern regions of Afdheer and Liiban. Thousands of animals are dying in these areas and there are reports of children and the elderly dying too. Most people who live in the rural areas in these regions depend on livestock for their livelihood.

The Zenawi troops in the region had occupied the few water wells in the region, preventing people and livestock from using the wells. Furthermore, the troops are preventing the UN agencies to mount the necessary relief operation. Reliable sources has ascertained to ONLF that the UN agencies concerned have provided the resources and equipment needed, but the Meles Zenawi agents in the region are misappropriating the funds and preventing UN staff to go beyond the regional centres, while maintaining the aid embargo in Ogaden.

Unfortunately, the Ethiopian regime has succeeded in bullying the UN and other international NGOs into silence regarding the dire situation in Ogaden. Both the international organizations and the donor representatives in Ethiopia are ignoring the plight of the Ogaden people. Unless the international community takes urgent measures to mitigate the effects of this draught by forcing the Zenawi Regime to allow unfettered access to Ogaden, the 1984 catastrophe in Ethiopia could be repeated. The policy of Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1984 was to hide from the international community the effect of the drought in Tigray region and the policy of Meles Zenawi is to launch appeals in order to get aid, while denying it to reach the intended beneficiaries in Ogaden. 

ONLF urgently appeals to the international community to take effective measures in order to save the people in Ogaden.