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"Survey in Ethiopia and Kenya: Inspection on Hunger, Aid and AIDS after 25 Years"

HAYASHI Tatsuo *
* President of Africa Japan Forum
* Professor, Kinugasa Research Organization, Ritsumeikan University
From November to December 2009
Japanese Page

1. Background

1. Droughts in Ethiopia from Past to Today
1) 25 years ago Ethiopia had more than 1 million people who were starved to death as a result of the "Big Dry". We also provided emergency aid, provided medical care to about 50,000 people and saw 500 people died. Aid groups from Western countries mainly provided food along the national road, but it took one week from the disaster area to there on foot. For this reason we thrusted into a rough road to approach the sufferers.

2) Since we found that one of the causes of the famine was environmental damage such as deforestation and soil erosion, we went back there to reconstruct the area one year later. We used the "food for work" method in which we provided food as the payment for works in public projects of forestation or road construction. However, Ethiopia went into the civil war before we could verify its right and wrong.

3) The government's response to drought, famine and reconstruction was poor in 1980s. They put priority on national events such as the Revolution Day. Moreover, they grew flowers in most fertile agricultural lands to earn foreign currency. BBC searched out the tragic situation of starvation, which urged public opinion in the world, including Japan, to provide a lot of aid to Ethiopia. However, even such aid was no more than first aid, and was not able to solve the worst cases. Therefore, the necessity of early warning was emphasized.

4) Although several droughts have occurred since then, it has been said that the current government which has had power since 1990s have succeeded in preventing starvation properly both by warning the danger early and by responding to the droughts at the early stage.

2. Severe Famine after 25 Years
1) Recently (mid October), BBC, WFP, UNICEF, Oxfam and some others have been warning a drought in East Africa. According to BBC, 4 million people in Kenya and 6.2 million in Ethiopia are becoming hungry as a result of famine in the past 25 years. It is emphasized that this famine is connected to climate change. The Ethiopian governments in the past has turned over because they have failed to solve the starvation issue. How about this time? Or are BBC and others fussing too much?

2) The hungry population in the world has been rapidly increasing in the last few years, and the number exceeds 1 billion. The surge in food price leads to this increase of hungry population. The food price surges partly because of financial speculation in commodity markets. The money games on food have grown globally. As a result, new and quiet starvation, and solitary death have been spreading in African cities?

2. Purposes

1) To visit Ethiopia's most damaged areas where JVC and we worked before. We drive a 4WD into roadless roads for about a week.

2) To find out how the government has been responding to the situation and what the UNs and other NGOs have been doing there.

3) To consider the right and wrong of aid.

4) To find out the situation of food price surge. Are people dying lonelily in the cities?

5) To find out if AIDS treatment is available in farming areas as well.

3. Itinerary

1) Leave Tokyo on November 15. Arrive at Addis Ababa on November 16.

2) Visit UNs, NGOs, Department of Health, Emergency Committees, etc./Acclimatize to the altitude/Prepare the departure.

3) Field trip from November 25 to December 2.

4) Leave Addis Ababa for Nairobi on December 5.

5) Visit slums and NGO project area/Find out the situation of AIDS and urban starvation from December 6 to 13.

UP:November 5, 2009@REV:November 6, 2009
Translated and Prepared by HIRAGA Midori
HAYASHI Tatsuo@ Africa Japan Forum@ Africa
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