The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, visited drought-ravaged Ethiopia last week. He urged support to prevent another famine in the East African nation.
The food shortages and suffering in Ethiopia reminded the Secretary General of his own experiences growing in the Korean War. There was hunger and displacement caused by the conflict between the North and the South.
Ban Ki-moon said, “more than 60 years ago when I was young, a young boy in Korea, early 1950s. As you may know, Korea had war at the time. When the war broke out, we were [in a situation] as difficult as people are now here, even more difficult at the time.”
Humanitarian aid was crucial for Koreans. The United Nations Civil Assistance teams provided food, medicine and shelter for displaced war victims.
The United States Food for Peace program helped with post-war relief in Korea including school meals for millions of children. When the United Nations World Food Programme was created in the 1960’s, one of its earliest project was helping South Korea recover.
Ban Ki-moon added, “At the time, humanitarians and United Nations support came and I am feeling very much moved that the boy, the young boy who went through that kind of difficulties is now standing before you as UN Secretary-General.”
The Secretary General is urging donors to come forward and support Ethiopia in their time of need. The number of humanitarian emergencies including Syria, Ethiopia, Yemen have created a huge strain on relief agencies.
Civilians in these war and disaster torn nations are lacking food, shelter, medical care and education. The Secretary General added, “The Sustainable Development Goals agreed last year are based on the promise to leave no one behind. Humanitarian crises are the main reason why some hundred million people are currently left far behind, in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere.”
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