From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Feb 17 2009 - 13:48:05 EST
5 mln more Ethiopians need emergency food: UN
GENEVA (AFP) - Some 4.9 million more Ethiopians are in urgent need of food
aid, the UN said Tuesday, bringing the total number of people in Ethiopia
who need relief aid to 12 million, or 15 percent of the population.
"In addition to the seven million that continue to be assisted, 4.9 million
people need emergency food assistance," said Elizabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman
for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The latest figure is based on an assessment conducted by UN agencies in
November and December, which concluded that some 454.3 million dollars were
needed to fund aid in Ethiopia during the first half of 2009.
Poor rainfall and harvests are hurting many in the east of the country, said
"Concerns are high over continuing food insecurity in the coming months, in
parts of the country," she added.
Ethiopia is Africa's second most populous country, with around 80 million
inhabitants, and has been badly affected by droughts, civil conflict and
rising food prices.
Despite the tough conditions, the country is hosting increasing numbers of
asylum seekers crossing over from Somalia into eastern Ethiopia's Somali
Byrs said that about 10,000 asylum seekers had arrived this year, and 150
more people were crossing the border daily.
"In Somali Region, malnutrition and food insecurity will likely exacerbate
during the coming dry season from January to mid April," she said.
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