Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ethiopian Government officials explained to the international press earlier this week that the principle cause of the country's highest infant death rate in twenty years is due to ‘poor, sick and helpless babies'.
The children in question, the government clarify, have been dying for reasons unknown to them and have campaigned for many years to prevent such a thing happening frequently. To maximise the speed with which the relief effort could start, Ethiopia immediately appealed to the international community for a full independent enquiry. "It's probably something like boredom, or maybe even hypertension," speculated Aramari Tonga, Chief Minister for Propaganda and Distortion, "I've been pressing for a larger quota on local government backgammon boards and a full dose of relaxants to all children still alive."
Government relief work is centred in the cities and rural districts furthest away from the continued fighting in the Darfu region. Four thousand grain producing workers and instructions on how to use them were dropped in these areas. None survived and so the country's best hospital facility has been working non-stop to save lives using syringes filled with adrenaline. Despite this, children continue to die in numbers described as ‘astronomical'.
The UN and ChildSafe, a charity for protecting children world wide, accused the Ethiopian Government of trying to avoid blame by using statistics to point out the obvious. The country, they say, should take more time to think of solutions instead of publicising statistics that mean little to those affected. "Ethiopia is little more than wasting time" stated UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan "people are starving to death and children, having so little substance to begin with, simply wither away the quickest."
Ethiopia disagrees. "African children are a lot tougher than the western media would have you believe. They can work 12 hour days in sweat shops and still have the energy to eat and sleep. That is why we are doing everything in our power to keep these statistics down" stresses Negaso Gidada, the nation's president. Though not willing to comment further, President Gidada was adamant that he'd do his best to stop the babies if elected in the next military coup - threatening them with prison, if necessary.