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Famine and the “Ethiopia rising” meme: Can bricks be bread? Can starving children eat a train? November 16, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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???????????Ethiopia in 2015, catatrphic famine, over 15 million people affected

This is Ethiopia in 2015: Over 15 million are like this

Famine Ethiopia 2015 BBC reportFamine in Ethiopia 2015ethi_famine_30_years1414175983

 

 

Despite the “Ethiopia rising” meme, the country remains a place where 30.7% of the population live on less than 1.25$/day ; 88 children out of 1000 live births die every year before they reach the age of 5; 67% of all deaths of children aged under 5 years take place before a child’s first birthday; a total of 34.6% of children are born underweight, while 50.7% are stunted; and Ethiopia is a country which has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios (675 maternal deaths/100 000 live births). In addition, Ethiopia is now facing yet another severe drought and looming famine catastrophe ; the worst it has seen in 30 years and estimated 15 million people will likely need food assistance in 2016. UNICEF figures indicate a 27% increase in the number of children treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition already; 197 woredas had measles outbreaks; 14,300 suspected and 11,700 confirmed measles cases so far. Once again, the international community has started its never ending task of feeding hungry Ethiopians who are failed by their own government.   http://shemsubireda.tumblr.com/post/133198947059/the-ethiopia-rising-meme

The “Ethiopia rising” meme

We have been sold this “Ethiopia rising” meme for years now. The Ethiopian government keeps projecting this narrative 24/7. State media have been preoccupied with plastering images of construction projects and GDP rates on the minds of citizens; and Global “Experts on Africa” have added the “Ethiopia rising” meme to their already existing “Africa rising” meme as well.

The “Ethiopia rising” meme has become pernicious in part because it is half-truth. Construction projects are indeed visibly “booming”. We can at least see the Addis Ababa light rail with our own eyes. Sophisticated international economists tell us the latest GDP figures as well. Local, Bole resident, developmental government minions and cadres echo these GDP figures too; along with their fellow traveler, foreign born drive by reporters who are mostly based in Addis Ababa; They go out on field missions on few occasions and believe new buildings and a new light rail in Addis Ababa is the same as development of an entire country of 94 million people.

For such people, their echo chamber is filled with the “Ethiopia rising” noise. As a result, “Ethiopia rising” is the answer to everything. They have been so primed with this meme that they might even answer the question “What is 1 + 1?” with “Ethiopia rising”. Ask them if bricks can be bread or if starving children can eat a train and they will have no answer. (Or maybe they’ll just answer you with “Ethiopia rising”)

Skeptics of this “Ethiopia rising” meme have always been unwilling to buy into this narrative and refuse to equate Ethiopia’s GDP growth with development. Despite the “Ethiopia rising” meme, the country remains a place where 30.7% of the population live on less than 1.25$/day ; 88 children out of 1000 live births die every year before they reach the age of 5; 67% of all deaths of children aged under 5 years take place before a child’s first birthday; a total of 34.6% of children are born underweight, while 50.7% are stunted; and Ethiopia is a country which has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios (675 maternal deaths/100 000 live births)

In addition, Ethiopia is now facing yet another severe drought and looming famine catastrophe ; the worst it has seen in 30 years and estimated 15 million people will likely need food assistance in 2016. UNICEF figures indicate a 27% increase in the number of children treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition already; 197 woredas had measles outbreaks; 14,300 suspected and 11,700 confirmed measles cases so far. Once again, the international community has started its never ending task of feeding hungry Ethiopians who are failed by their own government; yet another evidence for why the “Ethiopia rising” meme remains half-truth, if not a complete lie.

The extent of lives lost due to the ongoing drought is an unknown know reality for the moment. The government has suppressed report on mortality rates. Although public health information is incomplete without such vital statistics, UNICEF’s situations reports on the current humanitarian crisis bear no mortality rates. Even zero deaths should be reported in well-respected information sources such as the UNICEF. But that’s not the case here. UNICEF seems to have adopted a position that says “If the government says there are no children who died of starvation, then there are not children who died of starvation”. Yet, one BBC report states “The United Nations say two babies are dying of starvation every day in one area”. However, the government insists “No one has died or displaced due to lack of food in the areas affected by the drought”.

Without vital information such as mortality rates from independent sources, given the extent of Ethiopia’s previous famine disasters, previous and current governments’ denial and cover up on the extent of such disasters, and in spite of the “Ethiopia rising” meme, it’s hard to tell how bad the situation is. It might even be comparable with the 1984 famine.

Source: http://shemsubireda.tumblr.com/post/133198947059/the-ethiopia-rising-meme

 

 

 

Related:

Residents in the Afar Region of Ethiopia Talk about the Drought (VOA)

http://amharic.voanews.com/audio/3060337.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-34770831?SThisFB

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/drought-food-crisis-and-famine-in-ethiopia-2015-children-and-adults-are-dying-of-lack-of-food-water-and-malnutrition-animals-are-perishing-of-persisting-drought-the-worst-affected-areas-are-e/

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