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Eleven Million People Face Food Shortages In Ethiopia - 2002-12-30

UN relief agencies say more than eleven million Ethiopians are facing severe food shortages and possible starvation, caused mainly by drought and poor harvests.

Karen Hedlund is an analyst and emergency food officer for the World Food Program. From Addis Ababa, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the food shortages. She says seasonal rains often came late and ended early in many parts of Ethiopia. She says farmers were uncertain about the prospects for harvests, so were reluctant to invest in seeds.

The World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization say, “In many lowland and pastoral areas of Ethiopia, people have barely enough food to last for even one or two months. Millions of subsistence farmers and herders will soon face a desperate situation.”

Ms. Hedlund says it’s the worst food shortage Ethiopia has faced since 1984/85. The UN agencies are calling for efforts to stabilize food prices, which include facilities and marketing.