Ethiopia seeks aid for 2.8 million starving people

February 7th, 2011 | by addis portal |

The Ethiopia Government is appealing for food aid to feed some 2.8 million people facing starvation.

The government largely blames the food deficit on climate change phenomenon, pointing out that the number of those affected had, however, reduced by 54 per cent from last year’s 5.2 million.

Ethiopian hopes to secure some $331 million to provide food and non food support to its needy people in eastern and southern regions.

So far, international donors have pledged some $104 million support.

“Due to rain failure and floods, some areas still need aid in the coming seasons,” Mr Mitku Kassa, the Ethiopian minister of Agriculture told donors’ representatives in Addis Ababa on Monday.

Military operation

Mr Mitku explained that his government was proud of its efforts and achievements in the last 12 months, which reduced the number of needy people by more than half.

Nearly 40 per cent of the hungry people this year are in the Ethiopian – Somali border region, which is a strong base for the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

The government has since 2007 launched a massive military operation in the area, curtailing the humanitarian activities in the arid region, which is prone to climate change phenomenon.

Mr Mitiku said that the government was trying to remove the restrictions through negotiation with the military commanders.

ONLF accuses the Ethiopian Government of starving people deliberately, thus committing mass killings in the area.

The government claims that some of the humanitarian aid was being diverted to feed and generate income for rebels, hence the need for restrictions to check the diversion.

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