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Ethiopia and Sudan : warfare, politics, and famine : hearing before the Select Committee on Hunger, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, second session, hearing held in Washington, DC, July 14, 1988 online

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ETHIOPIA AND SUDAN: WARFARE, POUTICS, AND

FAMINE



HEARING

BEFORE THE

SELECT COMMITTEE ON HUNGEE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDREDTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION



HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, JULY 14, 1988



Serial No. 100-30



Printed for the use of the Select Committee on Hunger




KF27. 5

H8 H U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE

1 98Sr ■ WASHINGTON : 1988



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402



ETHIOPIA AND SUDAN: WARFARE, POUTICS, AND

FAMINE



KF27. 5

H8

19B8F



HEAKING

BEFORE THE

SELECT COMMITTEE ON HUNGER
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDREDTH CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION



HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, JULY 14, 1988



Serial No. 100-30



Printed for the use of the Select Committee on Hunger




U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1988



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402





:CT COMMITTEE ON HUNGER



MICKEY LELAND, Texas, Chairman



TONY P. HALL, Ohio

BOB TRAXLER, Michigan

LEON E. PANETTA, Califorrii

VIC FAZIO, California

PETER H. KOSTMAYER, Penn ylvania

BYRON L. DORGAN, North DaKota

BOB CARR, Michigan

TIMOTHY J. PENNY, Minnesota

GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York

MIKE ESPY, Mississippi

FLOYD H. FLAKE, New York

KWEISI MFUME, Maryland

ELIZABETH J. PATTERSON, South Carolina

JOSEPH E. 1

HARLEY O.



BILL EMERSON,' Missouri

Vice Chairman
MARGE ROUKEMA, New Jersey
SID MORRISON, Washington
BENJAMIN A. OILMAN, New York
ROBERT F. (Bob) SMITH, Oregon
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
FREDERICK S. UPTON, Michigan
HANK BROWN, Colorado
WALLY HERGER, California



•Effective .




BOSTOISI
PUBLIC
tlBl^RY




G-L



CONTENTS



Page

Hearing held in Washington, DC, July 14, 1988 1

Statement of:

Bollinger, Walter, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, U.S.
Agency for International Development (U.S. A.I.D.), accompanied by
William Garvelink, Assistant Director, Office of Foreign Disaster As-
sistance 7

Brown, Kenneth, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, U.S.
Department of State, accompanied by John Davison, Director, Office of
East African Affairs 5

Emerson, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of
Missouri, opening statement of 4

Oilman, Hon. Benjamin A., a Representative in Congress from the State
of New York, opening statement of 3

Herger, Hon. Wally, a Representative in Congress from the State of
California, opening statement of 2

Leland, Hon. Mickey, a Representative in Congress from the State of

Texas, opening statement of 1

Prepared statements, letters, supplemental material, et cetera:

Bollinger, Walter G., Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Africa,
U.S. Agency for International Development (U.S. A.I.D.):
Additional questions for, submitted by:

Hon. Mickey Leland 59

Hon. Bill Emerson 67

Prepared statement of .'. 52

Brovm, Kenneth L., Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Af-
fairs, U.S. Department of State:

Additional questions for, submitted by Hon. Mickey Leland 48

Prepared statement of 43

Emerson, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of
Missouri, prepared statement of 29

Ethiopia fact sheet 39

"Ethiopia Orders a Halt To Food Relief in North," from the Washington
Post, April 7, 1988 91

Famine in Ethiopia: Background statistics 37

Famine in Sudan: Background statistics 38

Gassis, Bishop Macram Max, His Excellency, Diocese of El Obeid, El
Obeid, The Sudan, prepared statement of 143

Gingrich, Keith E., assistant director, Mennonite Central Committee,

U.S. Peace Section, prepared statement of 82

Mfume, Hon. Kweisi, a Representative in Congress from the State of
Maryland, prepared statement of 32

"On the Edge in Ethiopia," from the Washington Post, April 7, 1988 92

"Refugees From Sudan Strain Ethiopia Camps," from the New York
Times, May 1, 1988 93

Seyoum, Tesfa A., executive director, Eritrean Relief Committee, Inc.,
prepared statement of 77

"Sudan Hides Its Famine," from the New York Times, June 28, 1988 ^ 90

Sudan, The, fact sheet 41

"Sudanese flee in search of food, safety," from the Christian Science
Monitor, June 29, 1988 96

"Sudanese government and rebels under fire," from the Christian Science

__ Monitor, July 11, 1988 94

"The Weapon of Famine," from the Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Consti-
tution, June 26-28 series and related 1988 articles 98

(III)



ETHIOPIA AND SUDAN: WARFARE, POLITICS,

AND FAMINE



THURSDAY, JULY 14, 1988

House of Representatives,
Select Committee on Hunger,

Washington, DC.

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:14 a.m., in room
311, Cannon House Office Building, Hon. Mickey Leland [chairman
of the committee] presiding.

Members present: Representatives Hall, Ackerman, Emerson,
Oilman, and Herger.

Also present: Representative Wolpe.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MICKEY LELAND, A
REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS

Chairman Leland. The committee will come to order.

Good morning. I welcome everyone to this hearing of the Select
Committee on Hunger.

The tragic events which grip the Horn of Africa and threaten lit-
erally millions of innocent people are, unfortunately, not new con-
cerns for this committee. Ethiopia, in particular, has for several
years been a country of focus and activity for many of our mem-
bers.

We return to these familiar problems because the situations in
both countries dictate that we do so. Civil war, religious and ethnic
strife, the reckless arming of mercenaries and bandits, and a disre-
gard for the concept of safe passage of emergency relief convoys
place millions of people effectively beyond the reach of relief agen-
cies. Policies pursued by the Governments of Ethiopia and Sudan
pose a greater threat to large numbers of their people than does
the renewed drought.

There are frequent and forceful allegations that emergency food
assistance is being used as a political weapon. There are charges
that both governments seek to obtain political and military advan-
tages by denying food to elements of their populations — by selective
starvation, in effect.

These are serious charges. Today we will examine these charges
to clearly identify barriers faced in providing food to hungry
people. Our interest is determining the appropriate policies for the
U.S. Government to follow in these difficult and complicated situa-
tions. The primary and overriding policy objective must be getting
the food to those in need. The policies must be consistent. The ef-
forts to assure a fair and nonpolitical relief operation must be as

(1)



vigilant in an allied country as in a country with which we differ
on ideology.

All of us look forward to the testimony and the dialogue with
today's witnesses. These are tough questions we are dealing with
today and not all of them have easy answers. But the plight of
many innocent people whose lives are now endangered in the
Sudan and Ethiopia requires us to proceed.

Let me ask now the gentleman from California if he has an open-
ing statement.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. WALLY HERGER, A REPRESENTA-
TIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Mr. Herger. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to
personally thank you for agreeing to hold this hearing on what I
believe is one of the most serious tragedies in recent memory. I am
pleased that we will be addressing the question of hunger in Ethio-
pia and the Sudan and I certainly look forward to the testimonies
of our witnesses from the State Department and the Agency of
International Development.

Several million men, women, and children in Ethiopia are facing
the most severe famine since 1984-85 when upwards of 1 million
people died of starvation. While international awareness of this
issue has improved substantially during the interim, it is apparent
that a number of factors are leading to this year's potential disas-
ter.

The first is the serious drought that has paralyzed the agricul-
tural community throughout much of Central Africa. Taken alone,
the drought should not automatically lead to mass starvation and
suffering. However, it would appear that there is presently little
evidence of food shortage in Ethiopia. On the contrary, it is report-
ed that food is literally piled up in crates and boxes at several
large ports in both Sudan and Ethiopia— piled up waiting for deliv-
ery to those who even now are on the brink of starvation. The cen-
tral problem has been, and remains, the intransigence on the part
of the Ethiopian Government when it comes to allowing or provid-
ing for delivery of such assistance. Literally thousands of tons of
food continues to rot on the very docks where it was unloaded,
while relief agencies wait weeks or even months for approval to
distribute the supplies to those whose lives depend upon it. In fact,
during the crisis three years ago, Soviet ships carrying military
and construction equipment were actually given precedence oyer
Western ships carrying food and supplies to the starving Ethiopian
population.

Second, Ethiopian dictator Mengistu's decision to expel all for-
eign relief workers from a number of northern provinces has only
served to place at risk millions more human beings. In fact, A.I.D.
Administrator Woods had estimated that 2 to 3 million people
might die as a result of this callous and unfortunate decision. It
would be difficult for anyone to argue that the Ethiopian crisis of
1984-85 was not at least partially the result of Mengistu's policy of
forced resettlement. Unwilling to learn from the abject failure of
such programs in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Cambodia, the gov-
ernment proceeded full speed ahead with a policy that is directly



responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 Ethiopians. Clearly
the Marxist government has adopted a deliberate policy of forced
starvation, a policy which the Western world simply can not toler-
ate.

It has been widely reported that in 1985 the Ethiopian Govern-
ment went as far as to spend tens of millions of dollars on a mas-
sive celebration commemorating the anniversary of Marxism in
Ethiopia. This was at the very moment that tens of millions of
Ethiopian citizens were near starvation. Such callous behavior is
almost inconceivable.

It is also imperative that we convince rebel groups of the need to
restrain from hindering legitimate government relief efforts. Some
reports have claimed that as many as 100 trucks used in such at-
tempts may have been destroyed by the rebels. Such attacks not
only damage the international reputations of the groups, but lead
to unnecessary suffering on the part of the very people that the
rebels claim to be fighting for.

Hopefully we can discuss these issues at this hearing today. We
want to know what this country can do to alleviate unnecessary
delays in food distribution in Ethiopia and the resulting deaths of
African citizens. As a principal supporter of the Ethiopian Govern-
ment, Moscow should be pushed to demand that its client State live
up to internationally recognized standards of conduct. Since 1977
the Kremlin has provided the Ethiopian Government with more
than $3.5 billion in arms that have been used in the war against
the rebels. The Soviet Union currently has more than 2,000 advi-
sors in the country. Cuba has provided more than 10,000 combat
troops to Mengistu's regime. I believe that Mr. Gorbachev should
be aware that the Kremlin will be held at least partially responsi-
ble for the suffering and devastation that could result.

I again thank you, Mr. Chairman, for convening this hearing
today, and I look forward to the testimony of our distinguished wit-
nesses. Thank you.

Chairman Leland. I thank the gentleman from California.

The gentleman from New York?

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BENJAMIN A. OILMAN, A REPRE-
SENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK

Mr. GiLMAN. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for conducting
this hearing at a time when the need for action is so pressing with
regard to the emergencies in both Ethiopia and the Sudan. I appre-
ciate your keen interest and I am confident that with your guid-
ance we will make some progress toward finding a way to aid those
in need in Ethiopia and in the Sudan.

Much of the news that we have been receiving about the situa-
tion is certainly quite grim. In June, the Ethiopian Government ex-
pelled the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as the
great majority of other Western relief workers from that country.
There is also evidence that the government, in light of setbacks in
its fight against the rebels, has been using the donated food as a
weapon against these groups by not allowing it to reach the needy
civilians among them.



In the Sudan, "the situation is also extremely troubling, as at-
tempts to cultivate the land are sabotaged by armed conflict. Ac-
cordingly, we look forward to hearing from our expert witnesses so
that the Congress can properly and expeditiously respond to the
millions who are suffering in both of those nations.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Leland. The Chair now recognizes the ranking minor-
ity member, Mr. Emerson, from Missouri.

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BILL EMERSON, A
REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI

Mr. Emerson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you
most sincerely for scheduling this hearing, and I apologize for my
tardiness and for the fact that I am probably going to be in and out
of here today. As a member of the House Committee on Agricul-
ture, let me note that we are marking up the Drought Disaster
Relief bill today, and the chairman has said that he hopes that we
will be able to report it by sometime this afternoon. There are over
50 pending amendments, so our scheduling convergence did not
work out very well for today and for that, I apologize, I am grateful
to you for holding this hearing which is on a subject of great con-
cern, the extremely serious hunger problems in Ethiopia and
Sudan. This committee has devoted considerable attention to these
countries in the past, but given the recent developments in the
gravity of the situation, it is entirely appropriate that we once
again examine the famine and suffering that grip the Ethiopian
and Sudanese people. On March 10 of this year, the committee held
a hearing on hunger in Africa, including Ethiopia and Sudan. It
was clear from that hearing that, while drought played a role in
the emergencies, the main cause of hunger there was war. We have
learned many lessons about how to deal with natural disasters, but
man-made famines present a much different challenge. The cruelty
and indifference that caused the suffering can also block efforts to
help the innocent victims.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Ethiopia. Just as relief
agencies were preparing one of the most comprehensive responses
in history to the famine in the northern provinces, the Ethiopian
Government expelled almost all Western relief workers from the
war-torn provinces of Eritrea and Tigray. The Mengistu govern-
ment has also expelled the International Committee of the Red
Cross from the entire country. To my knowledge, the last regime to
take similar action was the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia before that
murderous group killed one-third of the population.

The cynical and ruthless action of the Mengistu regime could
condemn over 1 million people to starvation in the near future. It
is a clear attempt to use food as a weapon against civilians caught
in a civil war. I cannot avoid the conclusion that the Ethiopian
Government, having failed to achieve a military victory, is now
prepared to use starvation as an instrument of state policy. This
brutality should be condemned by all civilized people. Those who
support the Ethiopian Government, especially the Soviet Union
and Cuba, also stand accused of aiding and abetting this crime
against humanity.



Turning briefly to Sudan, the civil war in the south is producing
a flood of refugees, many in very poor condition. I will be interest-
ed in hearing from our witnesses exactly what is being done to alle-
viate the suffering, both in the short term by way of emergency as-
sistance and in the long term in the form of an end to the war.

I would also like to hear from our witnesses their assessment of
the difference between the situation in Ethiopia and Sudan. There
have been criticisms that the United States has not responded
equally to each emergency. I suspect that this is because the cir-
cumstances are not the same in each case, and I look forward to
hearing more on this subject.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I understand that at the March 10 hear-
ing the administration witnesses came under some vigorous ques-
tioning about the adequacy of our relief operation in Ethiopia, es-
pecially regarding the number of trucks available for transporting
food. I believe that subsequent events have vindicated the judg-
ment of A.I.D. on this issue. Perhaps there is a lesson here that
Congress, in its oversight responsibilities, should avoid the tempta-
tion to micromanage foreign policy.

I travelled to Ethiopia during the last famine and witnessed the
tremendous job the A.I.D. and the private voluntary organizations
were doing there. In some ways they have an even more difficult
task ahead of them this time. They deserve our support, and I look
forward to hearing their testimony. Thank you Mr. Chairman.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Emerson appears at the conclu-
sion of the hearing, see p. 29.]

Chairman Leland. I thank the gentleman.

I have a written statement from Mr. Mfume that will, without
objection, be entered into the record of today's hearing.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Mfume appears at the conclusion
of the hearing, see p. 32.]

Chairman Leland. We are pleased to have with us today Mr.
Kenneth Brown, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa,
and Mr. Walter Bollinger, Deputy Assistant Administrator for
Africa, Agency for International Development. Mr. Brown and Mr.
Bollinger are both knowledgeable experts on Ethiopia and the
Sudan, and will speak to us about the food emergencies and related
political situations in these countries.

We welcome you, gentlemen, and we are very happy to have you
with us today.

We will first hear from Mr. Brown, and then from Mr. Bollinger.
We also ask you to introduce your colleagues, if you will, and then
proceed.

STATEMENT OF KENNETH BROWN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRE-
TARY OF STATE FOR AFRICA, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, AC-
COMPANIED BY JOHN DAVISON, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF EAST
AFRICAN AFFAIRS

Mr. Brown. Thank you Mr. Chairman. On my left is John Davi-
son, who is the Director for East African Affairs in the Department
of State. I will ask Deputy Assistant Administrator Bollinger to in-
troduce his associate.



Mr. Bollinger. On my right is Bill Garvelink, Assistant Direc-
tor, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

Mr. Brown. Mr. Chairman, we welcome the opportunity to meet
with this committee this morning to review developments in the
Horn of Africa. As you know the administration testified on
hunger, war, and politics in the Horn on two previous occasions
this year. On March 10 before this Committee and on April 21
before the Africa and Human Rights Subcommittees. My written
testimony is an update of events in Ethiopia and a summary of
where our relief efforts stand in Sudan.

The situations in both countries continue to be troubling. Our
most urgent efforts in Sudan and Ethiopia are aimed at moving
food through whatever mechanisms are available to the victims of
war and famine. But our efforts are also based on the recognition
that relief and food issues cannot be separated from the politics of
war in each nation, and more fundamentally, that the situations in
the two countries are significantly different.

Sudan presents problems of geography and logistics different
from Ethiopia. Its political environment is also radically different.
In Sudan, an elected government, with an active parliament and
an open press, pursues political approaches and negotiated solu-
tions to the basic issues of the internal conflict. That it has been
unsuccessful so far in reaching a solution to the conflict should not
obscure the fundamental point that Sudan understands the connec-
tion between famine and war. Prime Minister Sadiq El Mahdi's
now publicly stated proposal for negotiations with the SPLA has
three elements, combining consideration of relief and humanitari-
an needs with the issues of a cease fire and a constitutional confer-
ence. The government generally welcomes outside relief efforts. It
is possible to note problems, voice criticism, and work constructive-
ly in Sudan, both on humanitarian issues and on the armed con-
flict which is largely responsible for them.

Contrast this with Ethiopia where a regime responsible only to
itself apparently sees no connection between an infinitely protract-
ed war and continued famine, puts forth no meaningful proposals
for negotiating with opponents, continues to support an insurgency
in Sudan, and keeps outside donors at arm's length.

In Ethiopia we can draw some encouragement from the fact that
the international presence is slowly expanding in the north and
that food distribution there is being maintained at a constant level.
In rebel-controlled areas, the Eritrean and Tigrean opposition
movements are conducting successful relief operations. Unfortu-
nately, the worst impact of famine in Ethiopia may still come, so
we must continue to push for greater access and faster food deliv-
ery, even as we prepare for mass internal migrations and camps.

In Sudan the United States has prepositioned food so that during
the course of the past year there have been adequate supplies for
all donor efforts there, such as the U.N., PVO's, UNHCR, and the
Government of Sudan. We are also pleased to report that efforts to
involve the International Committee of the Red Cross in feeding
operations on both sides of the battle lines, at long last, appear to
be coming to fruition. In the absence of a political settlement and
true peace, this sort of arrangement is the best possible solution to
the problem of feeding the victims of conflict and drought.



Mr. Chairman, the administration will continue pursuing every
avenue to deliver food to needy victims in Ethiopia and Sudan. We
are sure that your committee and the American public support vig-
orous pursuit of humanitarian relief efforts in these two countries.
The next several months will be crucial ones requiring all our vigi-
lance and support. I assure you we will be active, bearing in mind
the sharp differences in approach to humanitarian issues which
create different operating environments in Ethiopia and Sudan. I
will be pleased to respond to your questions.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Brown appears at the conclusion
of the hearing, see p. 43.]

Chairman Leland. Our next witness is Mr. Bollinger.

Mr. Bollinger.

STATEMENT OF WALTER BOLLINGER, DEPUTY ASSISTANT AD-
MINISTRATOR FOR AFRICA, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL
DEVELOPMENT (U.S. A.I.D.), ACCOMPANIED BY WILLIAM GAR-
VELINK, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF FOREIGN DISASTER
ASSISTANCE

Mr. Bollinger. Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I will
submit my written statement for the record and present a brief
oral statement this morning.

Chairman Leland. Without objection, so ordered.

Mr. Bollinger. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to have the opportu-
nity to update you and the committee members this morning on
the U.S. Government's efforts to assist victims of emergencies in
Ethiopia and the Sudan. My colleague. Ken Brown, has already dis-
cussed the political dimensions of these emergencies and I will dis-
cuss the relief programs that are being undertaken by the United
States to help people in need.

The situation in both countries is serious indeed. As you know,
several million people continue to be at risk and substantial obsta-
cles continue to stand in the way of providing them with the assist-
ance that they need.

In Sudan, the greatest problem is in the south, where civil strife
enormously complicates the implementation of relief programs. We
judge that roughly 700,000 to 1 million people are affected in this
region. Many of them are not accessible. Government control in
the south has been reduced to five or six garrison towns. The rest
of the countryside in the south, an area larger than Texas, but
with fewer paved roads than the District of Columbia, is controlled
by the Sudanese People's Liberation Army, or SPLA. Little infor-


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Select committee oEthiopia and Sudan : warfare, politics, and famine : hearing before the Select Committee on Hunger, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, second session, hearing held in Washington, DC, July 14, 1988 → online text (page 1 of 14)