80 percent of Ethiopians live in rural areas under difficult conditions. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of ETH and acronym for Ethiopia. A quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, ie. at less than a dollar a day. The rapid increase in population exacerbates the situation. Health care is much neglected; In 2005, only half of the population had access to a medical center and there were only two doctors per 100,000 residents. About 40 percent of young children are malnourished.
Only 42 percent of the population has access to clean water, and waterborne parasitic diseases are a common cause of death. Conditions are somewhat better in the cities, which, however, are characterized by housing shortages and growing slum housing. Unemployment is high. Anyone who has a formal job is entitled to a pension and some social benefits, but most are outside the weak social insurance system.
1987 Reinforced rebellion on military rule
In December 1987, the Eritreans conquered the city of Abed after a severe blow. They captured 18,000 Ethiopian soldiers, 3 Soviet military advisers, and the Northern Region Ethiopian military commander. At the same time, Tigray’s Popular Liberation Front occupied important cities such as Wukro – a center for international aid to the victims of the hunger disaster. The progress led to the two movements entering into an agreement on cooperation and the development of a common military strategy.
The renewed military activity of the rebel forces led to several serious defeats to the Ethiopian army, and the general staff at the head of the 12 divisions with a total of 150,000 men involved in the fighting tried in 1989 to conduct a coup. Mengistu quickly returned to Ethiopia from eastern Germany, where he had stayed, and got the rebellion under control.
In the late 1980s, the war occupied 60% of Ethiopia’s state budget and agricultural production was declining. At the initiative of former US President Jimmy Carter, in 1989, a meeting in Atlanta was organized between one Ethiopian government delegation and another from the Eritrean Liberation Front, the EPLF. The front suggested the holding of a referendum on the future of Eritrea, but it was rejected by Mengistu. In September of that year, the last Cuban soldiers left Ethiopia. They had been asked by the government of Ethiopia in 1988 after it signed a peace agreement with Somalia.
Ethiopia approached Israel, which it had otherwise severed relations with after the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. Mengistu was interested in Tel Aviv military aid to allow the exodus of 17,000 Ethiopian Jews. In Eritrea and Tigray, the situation of millions of people worsened after the drought had reduced the grain harvest by almost 80%.
Impressed by the upheavals of the socialist world in 1990, the ruling party, PWE, decided to change its name to the Democratic Party of Ethiopia’s Unity and change its internal structure. Without giving up its monopoly on politics, the party gave up Maxism-Leninism, and urged all Ethiopians to step into its ranks – including opposition members. Finally, the government decided to introduce a mix economy that would consist of state-owned enterprises, cooperatives and private companies.
In March 90, the Soviet Union withdrew its military advisers from Ethiopia and the EPLF entered the port city of Massawa. It controlled almost all of Eritrea – except for Asmara, which was isolated in isolation over land to Ethiopia. In May 91, Mengistu Mariam, surprisingly, fled the country under the impression of partisan victories in the north. Vice President Tesfaye Gabre Kidane now became responsible to the government. He was considered one of the “moderates”, and formed a transitional government to negotiate a ceasefire with the Eritrean rebels.