[dehai-news] (IRIN): ETHIOPIA: Urgent food supplies stuck in Djibouti

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Mar 04 2009 - 06:43:29 EST

ETHIOPIA: Urgent food supplies stuck in Djibouti


04 Mar 2009 09:38:38 GMT


ADDIS ABABA, 4 March 2009 ( <http://www.IRINnews.org> IRIN) - Beneficiaries
of food aid in Ethiopia could face tougher times unless supplies that are
stuck in Djibouti port arrive quickly in the country, sources said.

Officials blamed congestion at Djibouti port, land-locked Ethiopia's main
access to the sea, but insisted the situation was improving.

"It was a problem during October and December," Mitku Kassa, Ethiopia's
Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, said. "Through negotiation
and discussions with the officials, especially Dubai Port World, which
manages the port, and STDV, the port agency, the [situation] is improving."

A recent joint assessment by the Ethiopian government and its humanitarian
partners found that 4.9 million people would require humanitarian assistance
over the next six months. The government and donors have appealed for
US$389.3 million worth of food to alleviate the situation.

"A large quantity of WFP's [UN World Food Programme] food is at the port,"
Paulette Jones, WFP spokeswoman in Addis Ababa, said. "These [food]
commodities are needed urgently to assist beneficiaries who are still
suffering from the impact of the drought, high food prices and [low] global
food stocks."


According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA), January food allocations have been affected by limited resources.

Only the worst-affected areas would receive full cereal and blended food
rations, based on the agreement reached by a prioritisation committee. Other
beneficiaries would receive full pulse and vegetable oil rations reduced by

WFP said it was exploring the options of using Port Sudan and Berebera in
Somaliland - which would also make it easier to deliver food to the Somali
region of Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent
Societies (IFRC) has warned that livestock owned by southern pastoralist
families have reduced drastically over the past two decades after animals
died from diseases induced by climate change and severe drought.

In a report prepared by Ethiopian and Dutch researchers, published on 26
February, the IFRC said average livestock numbers owned by households had
declined from 10 to three oxen, 35 to seven cows, and 33 to six goats in
Borena zone of Oromiya region.

"For families entirely dependent on their animals for income and as a food
source, losses on this scale would be disastrous," it noted.

As animals died, people became dependent on aid while dry seasons triggered
local "resource conflicts" over water and pasture, the study found. "About a
quarter of all households in Borena and Guji zones suffered from
cattle-raiding related to conflict in the period 2004-2008," IFRC said.


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