Water and pasture became crucial to the Somalia people because of the country's climate and
geography....... Somalia is located in the Horn of Africa in the northeastern part of the continent and is
bordered by the countries of Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. About one forth of somalia is desert;
there are also mountains and plateaus and dry, grassy plains dotted with bushes and low trees. Only
a few areas are suitable for farming, so most people rely on livestock for survival.
The Somalis fight a constant battle against drought, which makes it difficult for farmers to stabilize
the food supply. Most of the year, there is no rain. There are two seasons in which rain generally
falls-March to May and September to December, but often rain does not even come at these times.
During drought, famine is common. Even in good times, most Somalis have just enough food. Year
after year, moreover, their country ranks among the world's poorest. Consequently, control of the
resources that support livestock has meant nothing less than survival for the Somalis since their
beginnings as a people.
Year after year, moreover, their country ranks among the world's poorest. Consequently, control of the resources that support livestock has meant nothing less than survival for the Somalis since their beginnings as a people.
The dry, hot weather in Ethiopia meant that a lot of farmers' crops withered and died. Animals starved from lack of grazing land. But there was no real shortage of food. Enough had been stockpiled in Ethiopia to feed the starving people of the Northern and Eastern provinces. But they weren't fed. Haile Selassie and his government did nothing to get food to these people. Why?
For one thing, the wealthy landowners in the south-eastern provinces benefited by the drought.......
Another reason for the large-scale famine was that Haile Selassie did not care if certain areas suffered. The Northern provinces, especially Tigre and Eritrea, had never supported him. The Eritreans had been fighting against the government, trying to win their independence. Haile Selassie found that withholding food was a good weapon in this war.
The Somalis, too, were hit hard by the drought. the Emperor did not even think of them as Ethiopians, for they had shown no loyalty to the government. Whether or not they starved to death made no difference to the Emperor.