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1993 - Famine

War & Famine in Somalia + Sudan - as a direct result of civil war gripping the impoverished regions, hundreds of thousands starved to death, despite international aid efforts.

Somalia's last major famine was in 1992 and was not caused by drought. Nearly 300,000 innocent people starved to death because of sectarian politics. The epicentre of that famine was in Bay, one of the country's most productive agricultural regions, and starvation was induced by warlords who used food as a weapon against farmers.

Marauding gangs had invaded the region after the collapse of the Somali state in 1991 and looted farmers' harvests. The country's major warlord wanted to capture the region, so did not allow food aid to reach the desperate population. Reports told of unimaginable suffering long before TV images of ruined lives reached millions around the world. It was only then that US president George HW Bush decided to send US troops to the country to enable food to reach the indigent population.

The results of the operation were mixed. In the short term, food aid did get through, and observers estimated that 100,000 lives were saved. But the security situation in Somalia didn’t improve permanently. The civil war dragged on and Western intervention couldn’t stop it. By the spring of 1993 the famine was largely over, but now Western forces, especially the United States, were deeply involved on the ground. The restructuring of the U.N. military mission in May ultimately escalated the conflict; the “Black Hawk Down” incident of October 1993 eventually took place under this changed mission.

In Sudan, civil war also ravaged the country. The Hunger Triangle, a name relief organizations used in the 1990s for the area defined by the southern Sudan communities Kongor, Ayod, and Waat, was particularly badly affected, and dependent on UNESCO and other aid organizations to fight famine. Forty percent of the area's children under 5 years old were malnourished as of January 1993, and an estimated 10 to 13 adults died of starvation daily in Ayod alone.

At the beginning of 1993, the OLS estimated that 1.5 million Sudanese were in need of some form of assistance, with 800,000 requiring food assistance. Seventy-five percent of the food-dependent were considered "specially vulnerable," or almost entirely reliant on food assistance, not including the Juba population, which would bring that number to over one million people who required food assistance.

The U.N./NGO efforts accomplished much in 1993: child malnutrition rates were cut by 60 percent in the most seriously affected areas, and 95,000 children were vaccinated against measles, a major killer when combined with malnutrition. Despite these and other successes, the U.N. found that mortality was 220,000 in 1993. About 600,000 people, almost one-sixth of the estimated southern population, were still internally displaced. About 23 percent of households were headed by women, another indicator of impoverishment; in the most seriously affected areas, women outnumber men by as much as three to two.


Further Reading


LA Times - A ‘Silent’ Famine Spreads Death

The Telegraph - Black Hawk Down: How a moral mission to halt famine became America’s worst military disaster in Africa

China Daily - War-torn South Sudan in the 1990s

1993 - Death of Pablo Escobar
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The Death of Pablo Escobar - the drug-kingpin is gunned down while on the run in his home city of Medellin, Colombia

"I would rather have a grave in Colombia than a jail cell in the U.S.”


Pablo Escobar‘s words, spoken out of spite for United States law enforcement, would become a reality sooner than the drug kingpin anticipated.

On December 2, 1993, Pablo Escobar was shot in the head as he attempted to flee across the rooftops of the barrio Los Olivos in his hometown of Medellín, where he had been hiding out.

The Search Bloc, a Colombian task force made up of Colombian National Police that was dedicated to locating and taking down Escobar, had been looking for the drug lord for 16 months ever since he had escaped from La Catedral prison. Finally, a Colombian electronic surveillance team intercepted a call coming from a middle-class barrio in Medellín.

The force immediately knew it was Escobar as the call had been made to his son, Juan Pablo Escobar. And, it seemed that Escobar knew they were on to him as the call was cut short. As authorities closed in, Escobar and his bodyguard Alvaro de Jesus Agudelo, known as “El Limón,” fled across the rooftops.

Their goal was a side street behind the row of houses, but they never made it. As they ran, the Search Bloc opened fire, shooting El Limón and Escobar as their backs were turned. In the end, Pablo Escobar was taken down by gunshots to the leg, torso, and a fatal shot through the ear.

“Viva Colombia!” a Search Bloc soldier screamed as the gunshots subsided. “We have just killed Pablo Escobar!”


Further Reading


History Co - Pablo Escobar’s Private Life in Photos

New Yorker - The Afterlife of Pablo Escobar

All That Is Interesting - Ridiculous Facts About Pablo Escobar

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