Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Six million Ethiopian children at risk of malnutrition as crops fail and prices rise

Reuters: Up to 6 million children under the age of five are at risk of malnutrition in Ethiopia because of rising cereal prices and the failure of rains, the UN's children agency, Unicef, has warned. Dry spells across much of the country since last September have led to big food shortages, humanitarian agencies say. In recent weeks the effects have become visible, with increases in cases of kwashiorkor and severe acute malnutrition, particularly in southern Ethiopia, where 126,000 children require urgent therapeutic treatment.

John Holmes, the UN's undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, said he was deeply concerned by Ethiopia's food insecurity, the worst since the drought-related humanitarian crisis in 2003. With crops expected to fail following a poor March to May rainy season, which in good years allows farmers to produce a second crop, the situation is expected to worsen. "We will need a rapid scaling up of resources, especially food and nutritional supplies, to make increased life-saving aid a reality," Holmes said....

A CIA map of Ethiopia, Wikimedia Commons

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