- Officials in Ethiopia have refuted reports by international media on the current food crisis as bogus and exaggerated. A government statement today, which is backed by UN agencies operating in Addis Ababa, said it was a misrepresentation that Ethiopia was in need of supplementary feeding for its six million children facing acute malnutrition.
"The number of children with severe and acute malnutrition problem is estimated to be 75,000 all over the country," said Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA) Director General Mr Simon Mechale.
He explained there was a total relief requirement of 300,000 metric tones of food, of which he said the agency had already distributed more than 81,000 metric tones across the nation, adding that some 4.5 million people were in need of emergency food assistance, excluding those people who are beneficiaries of safety-net program.
Referring to children, Mr Mechale said considerable efforts were being made by both the Ethiopian government and humanitarian partners to address prevailing situation in areas where children are affected.
This was reiterated by Minister of Health Dr. Tewodros Adhanom, saying government was aggressively expanding health extension program by deploying extension workers in every village. Some 82% of the work had already been achieved, according to the minister.
United Nations Resident Coordinator Fidele Sarassoro also said there was a good working relations between the Ethiopian government and humanitarian community in meeting the challenges faced by the country, noting government had taken steps to strengthen the coordination of emergency response at all levels to meet the challenges faced in the area of food, nutrition, health and water.
The UN has been providing solid assistance to help Ethiopia address the challenge. The Horn of African country has a history of the world's worst drought that killed a million Ethiopians in October 1984.
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