Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ethiopia demands urgent food aid for 6.2 million people

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Twenty-five years after Ethiopia's famine killed a million people and spurred a massive global aid effort, the government appealed Thursday for help for more than six million facing starvation. State Minister for Agriculture Mitiku Kassa said the drought-stricken country needed 159,000 tonnes of food aid worth 121 million dollars between now and year's end for 6.2 million people.

He said nearly 80,000 children under five were suffering from acute malnutrition and that nine million dollars were required for moderately malnourished children and women. "Since... January, the country continues to face several humanitarian challenges in food and livelihood security, health, nutrition, and in water and sanitation," Mitiku told donors.

In a report to mark the 25th anniversary since the 1984 famine, Oxfam called for a change of strategy towards human suffering in Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous country after Nigeria. It urged donors to focus on helping communities devise ways of preparing and dealing with disasters, such as building dams to collect rain water to be used during dry seasons rather than sending emergency relief.

Ethiopia adopted a controversial aid law early this year, under which any local group drawing more than 10 percent of its funding from abroad would be classified as foreign and subjected to tight government control. Oxfam said lessons still had to be learned from the 1984 crisis and bemoaned that long-term strategies receive less than one percent of international aid….

Tigray region, Ethiopia near the archaeological site of Yeha, shot by Jialiang Gao, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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