Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ethiopia: Over Six Million in Need of Emergency Food Aid, UN Reports

The United Nations' humanitarian arm has warned that food insecurity is worsening in Ethiopia, with over six million people now in need of emergency aid to stay alive.

That figure marks a 40 per cent increase since June, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Increased deaths of livestock - including cattle and camels - have been reported in several areas in the Horn of Africa nation, and the situation is expected to deteriorate as the hagaa, or short dry season, progresses.

In the Somali Region of the country, the drought, combined with soaring food prices and declining livestock incomes, has led to increased migration from rural to urban areas in search of food.

OCHA says that three logistics hubs have been set up to feed nearly two million people.

It also noted that acute watery diarrhoea continues to sicken Ethiopians, with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) warning that it is spreading.

The Government, WHO and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) are collaborating to help contain the disease.

Last week WHO appealed for an additional $8 million to fund its humanitarian preparedness and response operations in Ethiopia.