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WIRE:05/31/2000 14:17:00 ET
Skies rain fish on dry southern Ethiopia

 ADDIS ABABA, May 31 (Reuters) - Drought-stricken peasant  farmers tending their fields in southern Ethiopia got a nasty  shock when the heavens opened and they were pelted by fish, a  local newspaper reported on Wednesday.  

"The unusual rain of fish which dropped in millions from  the air -- some dead and others still struggling -- created  panic among the mostly religious farmers," the weekly Amharic  newspaper said.  

Saloto Sodoro, a fish expert in the region, attributed the  phenomenon to heavy storms in the Indian Ocean which swept up  the fish before shedding them on the unsuspecting farmers.  

Southern Ethiopia has been in the grip of a severe drought  for two years which aid officials say threatens the lives of up  to eight million people.

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