See also:
» 17.03.2011 - Ethiopia's Ogaden rebels issue famine alert
» 17.06.2010 - Ethiopia food aid at commodity exchange
» 04.02.2010 - Ethiopia makes international food aid appeal
» 09.12.2009 - 4.8 million Ethiopians need emergency food aid
» 27.11.2009 - $39 million injected to improve Ethiopia’s pastoralists lives
» 23.10.2009 - $480 million to help in Ethiopia's food security
» 22.10.2009 - Ethiopia needs urgent food aid
» 13.10.2009 - Ethiopia still vulnerable to serious hunger

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Agriculture - Nutrition | Economy - Development

Millions face starvation in Ethiopia

afrol News, 13 June - Over 4.6 million Ethiopians are reported to be in desperate need of food, following a severe drought which struck the east African country since early part of the year, hence government has appealed to international donors to lend a helping hand.

Ethiopian government has said that it is facing a "critical food shortage", after failure of this year's early rains.

Disaster prevention and preparedness agency (DPPA) has confirmed that food crisis is rampant throughout the country, adding that over 75,000 children are already severely and acutely malnourished.

An estimated $US 300 million of emergency aid is reported to be required to overcome the problem which has now spread to all corners of the country.

In some parts of the country, health centres and feeding clinics are already being overwhelmed with large numbers of severely malnourished children. Existing stocks of food aid are said to be enough to cover June, but critical situation is expected come July.

It goes without saying that the urgency of this appeal is real and urgent help is required now, in the form of a general distribution of food to everyone in the worst affected areas, humanitarian agencies have said. But reports indicate that food to address the matter is just not available within Ethiopian borderlines.

Government agency dealing with the crisis, has announced that it currently has only 118,000 tonnes, while more than 500,000 tonnes of food is needed.

Head of DPPA, Simon Mechale, has described prospects for July as "very, very critical". Even if main rains are good, the start of next harvest in Ethiopia will not be until August or September at the very earliest.

"Our food reserve is only enough to feed 5.9 million drought-affected people for one month," Mr Mechale said.

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is now desperately attempting to source out food close enough to Ethiopia to get it there in time, to fill the gap.

This will mean raiding other programmes like school feeding, and diverting ships heading for other destinations. And it is all going to need huge sums of money.

United Kingdom has offered £10m ($19.5m) this week to address the situation, which under normal conditions would have been considered a very useful sum, but now a drop in the ocean in accordance with the magnitude of current situation.

Both Ethiopia and its neighbour Eritrea are facing a terrible drought, which cannot be overcome immediately, unless sudden assistance is secured.

Observers say a contemporaneous hunger crisis in Southern African countries like Zimbabwe has drawn attention from away from the Horn of Africa, where aid workers say the crisis is still unfolding.

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