UN top aid official to visit drought-hit Ethiopia

August 26th, 2008 | by addis portal |

GENEVA (AFP) — The United Nations’ top aid official John Holmes will next month visit drought-hit Ethiopia, where some eight million people need urgent food aid, a UN spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Holmes begins the visit on September 1 in the Horn of Africa nation where “4.6 million people need emergency assistance and eight million need immediate food relief,” said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN humanitarian office OCHA.

The worst-hit areas include the southern region of Oromiya, where 6,700 more children were diagnosed as suffering from severe malnutrition between 23 July and 12 August.

Last June, the UN had appealed for 325.2 million dollars mainly in food aid for drought victims. Only 52 percent of this appeal has been met, said OCHA.

The Red Cross last week also revised its emergency appeal for Ethiopia to five million euros (7.9 million dollars), citing a worsening situation in the drought-hit south.

Ethiopia was hit with severe floods last year which destroyed most of the food crops, while this year a drought has worsened the situation, leading to food prices that soared 330 percent.

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