Tuesday, February 21, 2006

H5N1 is welcome in Ethiopia

Photo: rift valley birds frolicking with domestic cattle in a wetland near Lake Chamo.

A few months ago I was at a governmental office on work related visit. The time was around when all government offices were undergoing evaluation and “reshuffling” of workers. While waiting for the official I was there to see, I witnessed this conversation between two secretaries:

ጸሀፊ 1 :የሰራተኞች ግምገማ ሪፖርት ወጣ አሉ”

[S1: “the new employee evaluation reports are here”]

ጸሀፊ 2 :ተይኝ ባክሽ ሰምቻለሁ”

[S2: “leave me alone, I have already heard about it”]

ጸሀፊ 1 :ሌላስ ምን ሰማሽ?”

[S1: “what else have you heard?”]

ጸሀፊ 2 (እያለቀሰች):“ምነው ይሔ በዜና እሚወራው የወፍ በሽታ ገብቶ ሁላችንን በጨረሰን”

[S2 (bursting into tears): “I wish this bird disease they talk of on the news comes and wipes us all out”]

From her wish, I gathered the report doesn’t hold much promise for her future job security. On the other hand, her wish could come true. Unofficial reports of dead birds are coming from some rift valley areas. The Great African rift valley, which Ethiopia is part of, is classified by the WHO as having a ‘high risk of avian flu infection’ due to it’s established migratory bird destination. The Ethiopian ministry of agriculture claims that bird flu has not surfaced in Ethiopia, the press release also said the testing kit arrived just last Sunday.

The H5N1 has already been confirmed in Egypt and Nigeria. The rest of the countries in between, especially those within the great African rift valley, have not reported any infections. yet! If you naively assume a semi-straight migratory path between Egypt and Nigeria you will see that the volatile Dafrur region and Chad-Sudan border are in the way. Considering the present situation in those places, a bunch of dead birds are the last of their issues. In fact some would be pleased with an extra hand to make their genocidal wet dreams come true.


Blogger Tobian said...

The secretary's comment is reminiscent of conversations i've heard of people who say 'Taliyan bigezan yihine indih tebelashten anqerim neber!'


7:23 AM  

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