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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 28, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 36 TIM HeraM Novtmbw SAHARA MAURITANIA NIGER CHAD SAHELIAN ZONE Air Canada official denies planes unsafe OTTAWA Air Canada Chairman Yvti Pratte angrily denied suggestions Tuesday that Air Canada aircraft are unsafe. have to resent that he told the Commons transport committee. Replying to Dan McKenrie South the Air Canada chairman said that if any employees have complaints about safety standards they should use procedures set up through union contracts. He was being questioned by committee members about complaints allegedly raised by employees on safety matters. Some committee members said they had received briefs from The Canadian Airline Employees Association on personnel problems and Joseph Guay quoted from a letter which he said was written by Mr. McKende rais- ing safety Issues. Mr. Guay said the letter suggested there was over- staffing in some departments and understafflng In others dealing with safety matters. Mr. Guay said the letter also suggested understafflng sometimes led to failure to comply with transport depart- ment technical regulations. READ STATEMENTS Mr. Pratte said he has read some of Mr. McKentie's statements making ed allegations which imply that the maintenance function Isn't up to the maintenance of the transport department. Reaction mixed to gas ration Sahara famine darker in 1974 By JEREMY BUGLER London Observer Niger Almost the worst has happened. The great drought that has for six years devastated the harsh lands to the south of the killing tens of thousands of will be yet more terrible next year. As an aid official here puts four will make this year seem like the year of the horn of plen- For the rains have appallingly. Officials in the Sahelian the half- dozen ex-French colonies south of the have now collected rainfall statistics for most of the region. Generally they find that the drought goes on. The rains that came here in for were too too early. Harvests have failed and already farmers are with seven months to go before they can sow and hope again for rain. I have just travelled through some of the most notorious drought-scourged areas ac- companying a convoy of 20 Land Rovers and three lorries being given by Christian Aid to the Mali and Niger Governments. We crossed the Sahara on the western route and entered first the scrub land of the sixth region of Mali. POVERTY This according to United Nations is the world's second with a life expectancy of 31. And the sixth region is by far the most underprivileged part of Mali. It is the sub-basement of poverty As we drove through it hard- ly any cattle were to be although this is an area of pasturage for the great herds of the nomadic tribes like the Tuaregs. Some 90 per cent of livestock in the region have been killed by the drought. Rib-cages of goats and sheep litter the landscape. As for the sometimes known as the blue from the indigo veils the men wear across their everything is changed utterly. For centuries the Tuaregs have lived in the desert taxing trading in herding owning black slaves. A proud Caucasian race with its own script and the Tuaregs are now a race of mendicants. Grown men stood by the roadside muttering' They were begging beside their children for sweets from the rations of the soldiers provided by the British Army to drive the Christian Aid convoy Small children dressed in unspeakable rags had been taught by their mothers to say to any travellers the word hoping for a new garment to fight the awful cold of the desert at night Beside each village and town there was a camp of destitute Tuaregs Even along the banks of the Niger river the peasant farmers of tribes like the Songhai are half-starving. The rains despite the help of space technology. The American earth resources technology satellite tran- smitted information on rain cloud formations in the area to Niamey via Houston. Promising clouds were then seeded by aeroplanes to make them give up their moisture. Some 70 sorties were flown from Niamey but they were not enough. STOCK GONE year will be par- ticularly bad because all the farmers have used the last of their says Achim the German director of the European Development Fund. On the wall of his office in Niamey there is a huge map showing the harvest deficien- cies in Niger. more aid will be needed next he says. This year the EDF brought tons of grain into Niger. Kraft estimates nearer should be the 1974 target. Next year's Niger harvest is reckoned at being some tons short of the harvest for a normal year. And in 1973 all the great drought airlift could manage was tons. In the Keita area of to the northwest of the the harvest failure has been complete. In a nor- mal year the Keita peasants harvest tons of maize and sorghum. In 1972 they brought in tons. This year the poor rains produced only 800 tons. Only one depart- ment in the whole country has had a good harvest. In many places sacks of millet sell for five times the price of three years ago. For the Nigerian minister responsible for aid dis- ex-primary school teacher Leopold only international generosity will save the million people at risk. need a sort of Marshall Plan for the he told me. year we cannot even buy grain from the north of Nigeria because that too is drought-affected for the first time. I afraid thousands will die without No man knows more about starvation deaths in Niger than a huge barrel-chested Norwegian former customs official called Arnulf Tjurgen. He is the Red Cross represen- tative in Niger and he runs a large ragged refugee camp on the edge of Niamey called Camp Lazareth. Before Thurgen arrived in early July the camp was nothing but a collection point for nomad beggars Tjurgen arranged feeding points and a medical centre. Since then things have much but nonetheless on the edge of Camp Lazareth there is a graveyard with about mounds of red earth. Even as I arrived a group of tall state- ly Tuaregs were acting as pall-bearers for a 25-year-old woman who had died in the of what no one knows. CHILDREN The camp is teeming with some 600 of them. you think they do not look so says is because now they get milk every day and because the weakest have already He have seen such things. I have picked up children and told their mothers not to and even as I have walked away the child has died in my arms. But at the end of each day I can still go have a beer and a and forget it all. If I had a good memory I could not do this Nearly all the Tuaregs at Camp Lazaretto are not from Niger but from some 200 miles away. Why have they Many say Mali there was nothing done for us. No no They accuse the Malians of using the drought to take revenge upon the Tuaregs by providing insuf- ficient help. The the ascendant tribe of were once slaves to the Tuaregs and as recently as 1964 the Tuaregs rebelled against the Government of the newly-independent State. It is hard to find the truth of their charges. The Mali Government is hypersensitive and hostile towards in- quisitive foreign journalists. Even the Christian Aid workers accompanying the convoy were prevented by the Malians from making any con- tact with the Tuaregs. The Tuaregs and other nomadic such as the beautiful have greater problems than the Malians. Their very way of life is being threatened their life of ignoring national of wasteful foraging from place to of taxing fellow travellers. Many like Leopold Kaziende feel it can- not go on. The Tuaregs will have to learn to he says. Some attempts to do this are succeeding. Near the oasis of about 500 miles north-east of a UN project has hired some 300 Tuaregs in an experiment to irrigate a large millet field from subterranean Pro- Canadians comfortable during energy squeeze By KEN POLE OTTAWA Cheer it could be tot worse. While you may moan about being asked to turn down the thermostat a few degrees or to reduce your highway your European mends have it tougher. And it's not much better in the United States. We at least have our own crade oil to fall back on if the loaf-term going really gets roafh. Europeans don't and the U.S. has at toast a four- year wait before Alaskan oil becomes available in any quantity. for future do many European countries have the barely tapped Athabasca oil Muds or the promise of our Atlantic offshore regions. In other this country is sitting reasonably comfor- tably in the world energy crisis. It's no reason to feel however. The privilege has a price and our petroleum prod- ucts have been costing us more almost every month. NEED PIPELINE The main problem is the lack of a pipeline between the West and Quebec and the Maritimes. The main Una oat of Edmonton terminates at about 900 miles short of the Montreal refineries that serve the largest siagk chart of tot eastern Canadian market. So regions in and east of the Ottawa Valley rely mainly on Veneiuelan and Arabian BOW extremely expen- sive and tn short supply. The upshot Is higher prices as Energy Minister Donald MacQonaU said Mon- those prices art going up. He told the Commons that gasoline and home heating oil prices will Increase by four to five cents a in and east of the Ottawa Dec. 1. you still can take the family for a Sunday drive. The list of European countries which have banned Sunday car driving Is growing. The Netherlands has been without Sunday driving for four Belgium for ject director Bruno van der Walle reports that some Tuaregs applied for the 300 and that the scheme is going well. ANATHEMA But schemes for making the Sahel more such as enclosing land in ranches with controlled management of are anathema to the nomads. A young Tuareg chief told me that if the drought con- tinues his group would stay in the gamps. While they were there they would earn money to buy camels ready for the day when the drought ended and they could return to the desert. Hopes that the Tuaregs could be turned into settled farmers were he said. before the Tuaregs can think of going back to the desert they must survive in the camps. Inter- national aid officials are now working'hard to raise new sources of medicine and money. The problems are for- midable Just one to fly 14 tons of food into the destitute Mali sixth region an aeroplane must carry 17 tons of fuel. So in the poorest part of Mali the real cost of food is astronomical. WASHINGTON There were mixed reactions from service station operators in the United States to Presi- dent Nixon's call for a volun- tary halt to Sunday gasoline sales. James owner of a station in Los said after watching Nixon's think it's the greatest thing going. In this business you can't be here seven days a week and if you're not you're worrying. It will give me an extra day of John president of the Maryland Independent Retail Service Station Dealers said of Nixon's But Morgan said major oil com- panies can raise gasoline prices to who now .have less time in a week to sell. only one who's been bearing the brunt is the ser- vice Don an assistant manager of a station on an interstate highway near Little said he didn't think Sunday closings would appreciably affect gasoline use. going to take a lot more drastic action than he said. Robert owner of a station in glad to see this happen. We've been expecting it for some time. Everybody should take Sunday off. I think rationing would be much harder on everybody than closing on A Dallas service station Harris said he was not sure whether he would close on Sundays unless forced to do so. I don't like the Saturday night deal at all. I can go along with him on we're not going to have fuel but I don't believe we should be restricted on Saturdays at think he's said Dave Brett of Salt Lake City. will lose money that way.____________ The transport bad assured him statements were not correct. He also had discussed the matter with the the International Association ot and the union found the statement wrong. The Conservative MP re- quested safety Information and a report on a November flight to Bermuda. William an Air Canada said the airline has been trying to improve maintenance staff efficiency and keep costs at a minimum. Staff had been increased but in such a big organization there were bound to be shor- tages in some areas and sur- pluses in others. Strike drags at Calgary CALGARY In- sulators and contractors Tues- day returned to waiting for Labor Minister Bert Hohol to take action in their 11-week strike. Negotiations failed Monday to break through the dual roadblocks of wage increases and recognition of the Alberta Construction Labor Relations Association as contract signatory. No further talks are scheduled immediately and Ernie business agent of Local 126 of the heat and frost said the union now is waiting for Dr. Hohol to apoint a mediator. Justin Time for Our IMPORTED CHOCOLATES and BISQUITS hive irrlved from Germiny. and Switzerland Wi ilio future a large selection of GIFT BOXES GOURMET INTERNATIONAL DELICATESSEN College Mall Phone 327-6100 'Featuring the best selections of Imported Foods In Southern Alberta' DIETER'S SKI SPORTS COLLEGE MALL Prevents a... SKI PACKAGE WHOLE FAMILY Weft Luxembourg and Denmark stofMd Sunday driviiw last weekend and Italy is to follow srit next weekend. President la a na- tionally-televised address Sunday warned U.S. conevnen they might have to do without Sunday driving If they aren't careful. Gasoune sales In the U.S. are to be banned from t p.m. Saturdays to midnight Sunday. 'Just in Tlmi for Christmas' PACKAGE IV PACKAGE III PACKAGE 1 PACKAGE II Arils 100 Ski TynHstt DIETER'S SKI SPORTS Shopping Mail PtttM 327-OSS3 r ;