Friday, 4 July 2008

4.6 million Ethiopians urgently need food aid, Unicef says

Published: June 26, 2008, IHT

GENEVA: Some 4.6 million people in Ethiopia are facing severe malnutrition as a result of drought and lack of food, the United Nations warned Thursday in an appeal for nearly $50 million in emergency aid.
"Children are already dying, adults as yet are not," Hilde Johnson, deputy director of Unicef, said in an interview in Geneva after a visit to Ethiopia, adding that the situation threatens to deteriorate in the two to three months before the next harvest is due.
Officials have emphasized that Ethiopia does not face the kind of famine that killed around a million people in the 1980s but Johnson, who met Prime Minister Meles Zanawi, said he "100 percent shares our concerns."
The government estimates that 4.6 million people need food aid, up from 2.2 million in April, and that 75,000 children are suffering severe or acute malnutrition, Johnson said.
Even in areas where food is available, recent dramatic price hikes have pushed the cost beyond the reach of many people, Johnson said. "People are saying we have no food at home," she reported.

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