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Ethiopia: 8 to 10 million people face malnutrition

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  • Rev. Fr. John-Brian Paprock
    Source: Action by Churches Together International (ACT) Date: 02 Jun 2005 Ethiopia: 8 to 10 million people face malnutrition Members of the ACT Ethiopia Forum
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 8 5:47 PM
      Source: Action by Churches Together International (ACT)
      Date: 02 Jun 2005

      Ethiopia: 8 to 10 million people face malnutrition

      Members of the ACT Ethiopia Forum - the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
      (EOC), the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), the
      Lutheran World Federation (LWF/DWS), Norwegian Church Aid,
      DanChurchAid, Christian Aid, Canadian Food Grains Bank and Bread for
      the World - are bringing to the ACT alliance's attention a situation
      in which 8 to 10 million people are at risk of malnutrition. Severe
      drought conditions, a late start of the Ethiopian government's
      National Productive Safety Net Program, meant to provide multi-year
      support to more than five million chronically food-insecure people,
      and the lack of adequate resources to provide food and non-food
      assistance to 3.8 million food-insecure people have combined to
      create an alarming situation.

      The early belg rains (February/March) failed in many areas, including
      East and West Hararghe and Arsi zones of Oromiya State, parts of
      Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) State and parts of
      Tigray State. The situation is severe, with many areas throughout the
      country showing high levels of global acute and severe acute
      malnutrition in children under 5. UNICEF's May 4 report to donors
      cites 80,000 to 170,000 severely malnourished children throughout the
      country who are at risk of death if not treated, and an additional
      360,000 moderately malnourished children who could become severely
      malnourished if not treated.

      There are rising levels of distress migration in certain areas, water
      is particularly scarce in some areas, and cereal prices are high.

      The current rains (late April/early May) are late and may or may not
      help seasonal food production. Yet the rains will help improve
      livestock pasture and increase the needed water supplies. In
      addition, it should be noted that over 100 people as well as many
      cattle have died and thousands of families have been displaced in the
      current floods in the Somali Region alone.

      The Productive Safety Net Program is designed to overcome people's
      dependence on food assistance. While this is an important step,
      continued robust response to emergency conditions is critical to
      ensure the success of more developmentally oriented programs. This
      program, which was meant to begin in January 2005, did not start
      until late March in most areas of the country. Essentially, people
      targeted under the program have, in most cases, not yet received the
      planned assistance and are now facing deteriorating health
      conditions. Women and children are especially vulnerable. Many of the
      chronically food-insecure people are now facing acute conditions.

      Current figures indicate that 64 percent of food needs are pledged
      and only 22 percent of non-food needs. It must be noted, however,
      that this includes an un-guaranteed WFP pledge. With the number of
      people requiring assistance on the rise, the level of resources
      required is certain to increase significantly. While 64 percent
      sounds promising, it should be noted that, using current assessments,
      this figure may not adequately represent real needs.

      Unless commitments of food and non-food items are made immediately,
      the ACT Forum will not be able to pre-position food in the most
      severely affected areas prior to the rainy season, which starts in
      June, because of poor road conditions at that time. Lack of pre-
      positioning will lead to further setbacks and possible loss of life.

      The presence of the ACT Forum members at the local level was an asset
      in undertaking timely interventions in different parts of the
      country. The members have succeeded in providing service which
      complement other government and international efforts to mitigate the
      problem of transitory and chronic food insecurity in the country.

      An ACT appeal will be issued soon. We would appreciate any
      indications of possible funding.

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