Over 35,000 aerial photographs of 1933 Ethiopia found


MU- Over 35,000 aerial photographs taken by the Italians during their invasion of Ethiopia in 1933 have been found in the Mapping Agency and are now digitized, organized and stored for research by Prof. Jan Nyssen from Gent University of Belgium.

The photographs were taken some years before the invasion had taken place with an intention to serve as reference during the war. The professor has presented his works at Mekelle University on July 19, 2013 and said most of the aerial photographs concentrate on North Ethiopia, specifically Tigray.

While briefing the Mekelle University community on the contents and significance of the photographs, Prof. Jan Nyssen said the photographs were taken by the Italians before the invasion with an intention to select strategic sites for military operation. According to him, Italians had two helicopters at that time dedicated to take photographs. He said that the photographs are now organized in digitized manner to be used as input for research and study.
Prof. Dr. Jan Nyssen said the photographs will be used as reference for researches as they depict the then size of Mekelle Town, population density, farm land and forest resource coverage in the areas. Moreover, the photographs have a lot to say about the camera technology of the then time as well. Professor Dr. Jan convincingly identified the area where British aircrafts bombarded to abort the violence instigated in Tigray in 1942 against Emperor Haileselassie I on the aerial photographs.

Dr. Kindeya Gebrehiwot, President of Mekelle University said on the occasion that the photographs will be used as additional inputs to generate ideas supported by research and study in the efforts of the government to build drought resilient economy. He further noted that the photographs could help as real evidences to show the change of climate on the areas.