Television

CNN teams up with Insight News Television Production for Ethiopia documentary

MUMBAI: Emmy and Bafta award-winning African journalist Sorious Samura has produced a special documentary for CNN about the famine investigationSurviving Hunger .

The broadcaster went five weeks without food during the filming of the documentary, which he produced in conjunction with Insight News Television Productions.

The show airs on 20 December at 7:30 pm with repeats on 21 December at the same time, 23 December at 5:30 pm, 3 January 2004 at 7:30 pm, 4 January at 4:30 pm.

Samura's aim is to understand the real stories of people living on the edge of starvation. As famine again threatens millions in Ethiopia, Samura travels to a small village to see how people live with chronic hunger on a day-to-day basis and how some manage to survive.

Samura’s move into the remote village, far away from the range of the United Nations and NGOs, allows him to spend time with a number of families. He attempts to survive on the same meagre diet as the rest of the villagers.

Using a video diary, he tells the story of people like Ato Alemno and his children, who, against the odds, struggle to survive on a tenth of the rations they should receive, because of severe shortages in food aid. He quickly discovers that the daily reality for millions is a diet ranging from nothing to a handful of weeds.

With 11 million people depending on food aid in Ethiopia from the World Food Programme (WFP), supplies are running out quickly and the WFP says that if donors do not further commit, it will run out of food by June. The film also questions how Africa can expect to develop when millions are engaged in a daily struggle to survive, while underlining the kind of support and the different types of aid needed to make the modernised world take action.

CNN International GM Rena Golden was quoted in an official release saying, "By continuing to showcase the work of acclaimed journalists and filmmakers such as Sorious Samura, CNN underlines a commitment to bring in-depth reporting from all parts of the world to its global audience. CNN has a history of airing hard-hitting documentaries. Surviving Hunger looks at one of the most important issues in the world today, the risk of famine that Africa still faces almost 20 years after images of starvation in Ethiopia first generated world headlines."

Samura’s previous films include Cry Freetown, which was made four years ago. It portrayed atrocities committed during Sierra Leone’s civil war. Samura again put himself in the shoes of those around him during the filming of Exodus. This looked at the reality behind the ‘economic migrants’ who walk thousands of miles from West Africa to try and reach employment and security in Europe. Last year’s Return to Freetown looked at the plight of child soldiers in his native Sierra Leone and how their experiences during the brutal civil war had changed them.

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