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Famine Peril in Ethiopia

December 26, 1987

I am writing about a matter of great urgency. We are faced with an emergency in Ethiopia. Rains have failed, resulting in near total crop loss.

But for the first time in history, an early warning system has been implemented (a reliable advance notice of impending famine).

Food supplies are running out--experts say 1.3 million metric tons of grain will be required to meet emergency needs until the harvest in October, 1988. So far there are pledges that exceed 450,000 tons.

Five to 7 million people, like you and I, with children and families they love dearly, are in the midst of another disaster if they don't receive food to be healthy and strong to be self-sufficient. Just as you and I, they have dignity. Having their basic needs met could make the difference of them living a productive life or dying. In a world of abundance, people needlessly dying is unacceptable in my world.

We, ordinary men and women have an incredible opportunity. There are four specific things we can do to make the difference, to make a profound impact on humanity, to literally save our own people.

1. Urge government leaders to pledge and ensure the timely delivery of the necessary additional food, money and supplies. Write letters, make phone calls. Our government listens to what we have to say.

2. Empower the media to keep the story of Ethiopia on the "front burner." Contact editors of newspapers, and the management of TV and radio stations to report on Ethiopia.

3. Contribute your money to the non-governmental organizations working in Ethiopia. For a list , write: Interaction, 200 Park Ave. S., New York, N.Y. 10010.

4. Talk to family, friends, colleagues, schools, service clubs, places of worship about Ethiopia and the effective citizen actions they can take.


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