Ethiopias humanitarian situation rapidly deteriorating – UN

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that it is concerned by conditions in Ethiopia and that the situation will deteriorate further without an immediate infusion of resources to carry out life-saving interventions.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that eight million Ethiopians are chronically food insecure and at least 3.4 million Ethiopians are in need of emergency food relief – a figure that is likely to rise. The agency estimates that 176,000 children are in need of urgent therapeutic care for severe malnutrition and says that the rapidly deteriorating situation is the worst since the major humanitarian crisis of 2003. Up to six million children under 5 years of age are living in impoverished, drought-prone districts and require urgent preventive health and nutrition interventions. “It is extremely unfortunate that the combined effects of drought, food price hikes, and insufficient resources for preventive measures resulted in an emergency that jeopardizes child survival gains in Ethiopia,” said Bjorn Ljungqvist, UNICEF’s Representative in the Horn of Africa nation.UNICEF is providing therapeutic feeding to severely malnourished children. Over the weekend the agency received 90 tons of food supplies, noting that as much as 1,800 tons are needed over the next three months.The agency also estimates that $50 million are needed for life-saving health, nutrition, water and sanitation interventions, but has received only $6 million to date. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) is facing a total relief shortfall of 181,000 tons of food, valued at $145 million. 23 May 2008The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that it is concerned by conditions in Ethiopia and that the situation will deteriorate further without an immediate infusion of resources to carry out life-saving interventions.

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