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Ethiopia : 1984 to 1985 famine in Ethiopia

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Uploaded on Mar 28, 2010

19841985 famine in Ethiopia
The 19841985 famine in Ethiopia was a widespread famine affecting the inhabitants of today's Eritrea and Ethiopia. Four Ethiopian provinces -- Gojjam, Hararghe, Tigray, and Wollo -- all received record low rainfalls in those years. The effects of this low rainfall were exacerbated by lack of adequate government preparations, as well as the increasing drain on government revenues by various insurgencies. In the north, the insurgency of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front and the government's counterinsurgency was the ultimate cause of the famine, though the failure of the short rains in 1984 was the proximate cause. In the south, a separate and simultaneous cause was the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) insurgency.[2] In 1984, President Mengistu Haile Mariam announced that 46% of the Ethiopian Gross National Product would be allocated to military spending, creating the largest standing army in sub-Saharan Africa; meanwhile, the allocation for health in the government budget fell from 6% in 1973/1974 to 3% in 1990/1991. Although an estimated death toll of over one million from this famine is often quoted, this figure has been challenged due to "scant empirical evidence". Nevertheless, the magnitude has been well documented, and in addition to hundreds of thousands of famine-related deaths, millions of people became destitute.

Media activity in the West, along with the size of the crisis, led to the "Do They Know It's Christmas?" charity single and the July 1985 concert Live Aid (raised $100m) , which elevated the international profile of the famine and helped secure international aid. However, in early March 2010, the BBC published evidence that the aid was diverted to buying weapons instead of feeding the starving [6]. Famine scholar Alex de Waal argues that, "The humanitarian effort prolonged the war, and with it, human suffering."

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