U.S. Planes Deliver Aid to Ethiopian Flood Victims
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2006 U.S. Air Force planes transported 48 tons of relief supplies Nov. 10 to the eastern part of Ethiopia, an area hard hit by floods since August.
Ethiopians unload a pallet at Gode Airport following a recent U.S. Air Force humanitarian delivery mission. U.S. Air Force photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
More missions are planned, U.S. Central Command officials said.
The U.S. C-130s picked up relief supplies at Dire Dawe and Addis Abbaba and delivered them to the city of Gode. “These are not our supplies, they belong to the government of Ethiopia,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Peggie A. Murray, branch chief for humanitarian assistance at the command. “We are simply transporting them for the Ethiopian government and the U.S. Agency for International Development.”
The American aircraft delivered food, water containers, plastic sheeting, bedding and water purification materials. Ethiopian officials had requested help from the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, headquartered in neighboring Djibouti.
The Ogaden area of Ethiopia area has suffered an extreme drought. But this year, seasonal rains hit particularly hard. Ethiopia's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency said flooding killed least 80 people and left more than 217,000 homeless in the region.
Throughout Ethiopia and Somalia, flooding killed more than 630 people. The floods also took a heavy toll on agriculture and livestock.
The Shebele River burst its banks during a torrential rainfall Oct. 23, U.N. officials said. Roads in the Ogaden region are bad to begin with, Murray said, and the floods made them worse.
Ethiopian officials said that in addition to the aid delivered via aircraft, 20,000 tons of supplies will be trucked into the area.