The primary circumstance that directly dictates the availability of a sufficient and sustainable food source is the immediate state of weather conditions in Ethiopia. Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti all surround this particular region, and this country surrounded by different lands serves as the only home that over one-hundred five million individual human beings have ever known – many of whom are directly dependent on farm animals and precipitation-grown crops and agriculture, which serves as the necessary source of financial support required to sustain healthy, successful survival. This humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia is the main subject of Byron Connor’s book titled “The Face of Hunger: Reflections on a Famine in Ethiopia”.
This profound dependence on the cultivation and farming of crops and livestock has rendered countless families exposed to the danger of famine and starvation for years upon years on end, further made worse by the onslaught of droughts, sudden flood surges, widespread corruption, impoverished living conditions, raging war, and people losing their homes due to these inescapably misfortunate tragedies. In 2019, the UN had conducted a survey yielding alarming data which reports the severe hunger of over eight million individual people, and over half of this amount is comprised of young children.
Famines are the most extreme food shortage category, and when it is confirmed, circumstances are devastating: At least twenty percent or more of the nation doesn’t even have access to the sustenance they require, and at least thirty percent helplessly struggle with severe acute starvation, and individuals die from factors linked to malnutrition. During the 2011 disaster, medical aid avoided massive deaths, but a multitude of people numbering in the tens of thousands had subsequently perished in the effort. Millions more have been forced out from their homes and their means of making a living adequately stripped away from them.
Following the disastrous 2011 famine in Ethiopia, weather conditions eventually regressed back to stable conditions, and most households were able to restore their belongings – cattle, plants, equipment – and push onward after a few strong downpours. But a great deal of the peace that was achieved was ultimately brief, and chaos eventually resumed as normal.
The years 2016 and 2017 saw the persistence of low rainfall, and the cumulative influence of drought conditions resulting in crippling agriculture and farm animal losses throughout various regions of the country, particularly the northern and eastern provinces. As a consequence, some ten million Ethiopians require desperate nourishment and sustainable relief.
This critical and debilitating crisis had subsequently lead to civil unrest and a sharp increase in widespread crime rates, as many members of the desperately starving population resorted to looting and stealing as a means to acquire a simple meal for the day – effectively worsening an already miserable and desolate predicament exacerbated by corruption and disorder.
Within the year 2020, a severe locust infestation crippled the Tigray region’s crops leading to another shortage of food, and at the same time, Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, publically announced the news of active armed conflict between his army and the rebellious regional government’s forces. Tens of thousands of individual souls have been claimed in this war, and despite the Prime Minister’s announcement of their victory against their opponents, violence, and opposition remains rampant throughout the streets of Ethiopia’s many impoverished regions as pockets of resistance continue to clash with the local government’s militia, continuing to claim the lives of innocent civilians.
Humanitarians are baffled at the extent of the severity that this crisis has grown into, as the lack of communication with the country has ceased along with the welcoming of journalists. Suspiciously, satellite technology has detected the mysterious destruction of an Ethiopian refugee camp and relief center operated by the United Nations, and this is what is believed to have sparked the conflict.