Cash-strapped WFP cuts food aid in Ethiopia

May 12th, 2008 | by addis portal |

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – A lack of funds has forced the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) to cut by more than half the number of districts in drought-hit Ethiopia it serves, the food agency said on Monday and appealed for $76.4 million in aid.

WFP said shortages would prevent it from providing food supplements to malnourished mothers and children.

“Due to a funding shortfall, WFP has less food in its warehouses and as of the end of last month, it was forced to cut back food assistance operations … from 342 districts to 163 districts,” WFP said in a statement.

“Despite evidence of malnourishment in some drought-affected areas, a food deficit will prevent the agency from providing nutritious, life-saving food supplements to acutely malnourished children and mothers.”

WFP said it needed $76.4 million to feed mothers and children under five and to support the government’s emergency relief programme.

WFP said that in 2007 it provided supplementary food to over 1.1 million Ethiopians.

A U.S.-based early warning system, FEWSNET, had said that up to nine million Ethiopians may need food assistance due to drought in 2008.

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