“Wheat destined for Ethiopia’s Hungry Stuck in Port Logjams.”
This is the headline in the March 24, 2016 edition of Bloomberg Business.
According to the charity organization “Save the Children”, grain ships are taking about 40 days to unload in the port of Djibouti. There are 450,000 tons of wheat on ten ships waiting to unload today.
Most of this delay in the port of Djibouti could be alleviated, and delivery times shortened, if the Ethiopian government would allow some of the delivery to come through the ports of Asab and Masawa in the neighboring State of Eritrea. These ports are much closer to the drought area in northern Ethiopia than Djibouti. After the food is unloaded, there is still a long rail trip between Djibouti and Ethiopia to further lengthen the delivery time. But the delay is due to the Ethiopian government that is stupidly refusing to talk to the Eritrean government because of bitterness remaining since the war of 1998-2000. In that war, the Ethiopians lost tens of thousands of soldiers needlessly. The Ethiopians need to swallow their pride and stubbornness and request the government of Eritrea to open their ports for the unloading of food assistance to relieve the starvation and extreme malnutrition of the hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian farmers whose crops have failed, and whose animals have died.
Wake up, Addis Abeba!