In pictures: Photos of our emergency response to hunger in Ethiopia 2008

Renowned photojournalist Nick Danziger travelled to the Somali region of Ethiopia with Oxfam. His images illustrate how the food crisis is affecting people.


These women have left their village in search of food and water. Almost all the children here are either malnourished or severely malnourished. The only supply of food or water they have found has been distributed by a local NGO. They would have once relied on milk as a substitute for food, but those animals that haven’t already perished produce only a fraction of what they would do if healthy. Afar region, Ethiopia.
Many animals continue to die for lack of water and grazing pasture. Their value has fallen by a half even though food prices have doubled and in some cases quintupled over the last year. Laseraat, Somali region, Ethiopia.
Two-year-old Halima Gaz with her grandfather and carer Ali. Halima has been severely brain-damaged since she fell ill when she was 15 months old. She had started walking and was developing normally, but then got a fever, she wasn’t treated with conventional medicine and because of poor health awareness they didn’t know to cool her down and as a result has suffered brain damaged. Gabaiabora, Afar region, Ethiopia.
A severe drought, together with food prices rising daily, has left millions in Ethiopia in need of emergency food assistance with thousands of children requiring therapeutic feeding, but remote and vulnerable villages such as this one in the Afar region are receiving only minimal food assistance. Afar region, Ethiopia.
Valerie Browning, is an Australian nurse who lives and works with the Afar. She and her husband Ishmael Al Garod founded the NGO, the Afar Pastoralists Development Association (APDA) six years ago. APDA is partly funded by Oxfam. Afars affectionately call her Maalika (Meaning queen or angel) and she has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to the Afar people. Gewane, Afar region, Ethiopia.
Unda Awka, had been slipping in and out of consciousness through lack of food. Valerie Browning says of Unda Awka, “She probably had two days to live – it’s simply a food problem – she needs to eat.” Maalika was able to give her two cups of baby food – enough to give Unda Awka enough energy to sit up and regain consciousness. Okarey-af, Afar region, Ethiopia.
Valerie Browning gives a child the Middle Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) test. Like most of the children she visited over a three-day period the majority of children were suffering borderline malnourishment (under 12 centimetres in circumference). Afar region, Ethiopia. 
Fatima Lafatou with her two-year-old daughter Dorro Mohammed. Dorro was fit and healthy, and was walking before she became ill with an infection and chickenpox. “She [Dorro] was treated for the infection with antibiotic syrup, but they had no food, and you cannot take repeated doses of antibiotic syrup without food. I think it has reduced her immunity and now she is seriously ill. This is the problem. These people need food – it was a choice between food and medicine for her, and they chose to buy medicine, but without food it has been disastrous,” said Valerie. Gabaiabora, Afar region, Ethiopia.
Dhabo with her five-year-old son Hussein inside her empty shop. It is the only shop in the village. Dhabo explains why she has had to lock up her shop and stop trading, “I had to close the shop six months ago because food prices have risen so much that people cannot buy things at the prices that I have to buy them for. These people rely on their animals for money, but one goat is now worth less than a pair of flip-flops. I cannot sell things for enough to even make the capital back, let alone make a profit. I cannot even make enough profit to buy a biscuit for my children.” Adelle, Somali region, Ethiopia.
Maryan Ali with her her malnourished and acutely malnourished children: Hussein, 6; Abulahi, 1; Suleyman, 3; and Mohammed, 5. There were once 30 households in this remote village close to the border with Djibouti, but everyone left in search of grazing pasture. Most couldn’t find any. With nothing left and nowhere to go three families returned to this village including Maryan Ali. They live on food aid, but only have 15 days food left and worry about when they will get another distribution. Omar-Guluf, Somali region, Ethiopia.
The elderly, toddlers, the sick and disabled, mothers and wives in labour who are too weak to give birth, will be the first to die. Health centres are few are far between villages and offer only the most basic medicines and a diagnosis from someone who has been on a six-month course. This man is looked after by relatives who also do not have enough food and water to feed themselves. Laseraat, Somali region, Ethiopia.


Photos: Nick Danziger/Oxfam

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