Ethiopia food shortages alarming – UN

September 10th, 2008 | by addis portal |

afrol News, 9 September – United Nations has expressed concerns on deteriorating food security situation in Ethiopia following reports of severe drought conditions throughout the country.

According to UN statement close to 4.6 million people in Ethiopia are in need of food aid due to a combination of drought and high food prices.

UN spokesperson Michele Montas said relief organisations are grappling with a considerable shortage of supplies, with World Food Program in need of US$136 million for its operations in the Horn of Africa nation.

Recent food prices hike and poor rain season in southern and eastern parts of Ethiopia, which are country’s agricultural sites have resulted in serious food shortages in country which led to food prices increase to around 300% in Ethiopia, reports have shown.

UN humanitarian chief John Holmes, who has returned from a visit to Ethiopia said food shortages remains very severe, with numbers of people affected continuing to escalate rapidly.

Although a US $325-million dollar humanitarian appeal launched for Ethiopia in June has been well funded at over 60 percent, Mr Holmes urged donors to contribute more for the next few months to avert the situation.

UN said more than four million Ethiopians need emergency assistance and a further eight million need immediate food relief, indicating that severe floods that hit Ethiopia last year, destroying most of the food crops and successive drought has worsened the situation.

Ms Montas said Monday that flooding in Gambela in southwestern Ethiopia has reportedly displaced nearly 35,000. In response, World Health Organization has provided emergency drugs and supplies for 10,000 people.

For a country like Ethiopia, which is the hardest hit in the horn of Africa, it has no hope for speedy recovery as it has already exhausted its food reserves as the soaring food prices forced government to subsidise basic food commodities.

UN has been providing solid assistance to help Ethiopia address its current challenge. The Horn of African country has a history of the world’s worst famine that killed a million Ethiopians in October 1984.

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