News / Africa

Ethiopia Reduces Food Rations as Prices Soar

Unusually poor rains in the Horn of Africa, compounded by a shortage of reserve food supplies, have forced Ethiopia to reduce the size of emergency rations to needy citizens. The sudden shortage of emergency supplies comes as over-the-counter food prices are soaring.

Ethiopia’s emergency relief agency and international aid groups were caught off guard by how quickly conditions deteriorated as rains failed over the past six months.

As recently as February, Ethiopia’s appeal to humanitarian agencies for food aid covered 2.8 million people, a sharp decline from recent years. But by April, as grazing lands dried up in pastoral areas over a wide swath of Eastern Africa, the appeal was revised to include an additional 400,000 Ethiopians.

This is on top of a separate supplementary feeding program that covers an additional 8 million people.

Fresh rains over the past week have helped, but a follow-up assessment now underway is expected to lead to a further increase.

The latest report from the U.S. government funded FEWSNET, or Famine Early Warning System Network, says food insecurity has reached the “moderate to extreme” stage in some regions. It warns that existing assistance programs will not be able to handle “expected food deficits and high malnutrition.”

The shortages are forcing Ethiopia to curtail distribution in all but the hardest-hit regions of two of the four items contained in a food basket designed to help families stave off malnutrition. As a third round of distribution begins, disaster relief agency spokesman Akloweg Nigatu says supplies of pulses (dry beans and peas) and high-nutrition Corn-Soya Blend are critically low.

"Now we [are] just distributing one-third less pulses for the third round, and we [are] not able to provide CSB, Corn-Soya Blend, because we are short of it, sorely depleted. But we are trying to get this limited resource by asking our partners," he said.

The United States and the U.N. World Food Program are among the main partners, or providers of nutritional assistance. But the WFP relief and refugee section chief in Ethiopia, Giammichele De Maio, says it can take months from the time an appeal is made until the food arrives.

"It usually takes an average lead-time of four, five months to get the food in the country, and that’s when we are actually able to distribute it to the beneficiaries. The latest request has come in April. There was a previous request in February, indeed several contributions are on their way, but still there are huge shortfalls in the relief pipeline currently," he said.

USAID director for Ethiopia Thomas Staal says the United States is working urgently on a project to produce Corn-Soya Blend in Ethiopia to meet domestic needs. In the meantime, he says a search is on for stocks of pulses that can be quickly purchased from other regions and moved to the Horn of Africa. "That we have to definitely import and we’re working with other donors to provide funding to WFP to import additional pulse. So we’re working with those donors, WFP and the government to see if we can’t move food around in the short term while in the longer term getting additional commodities," he said.

Agencies working in southern and southeastern Ethiopia say the drought has claimed the lives of countless thousands of livestock on which the region’s economy depends.

Aid workers say the effects of the drought have been made worse by steep increases in food costs worldwide. Ethiopia’s Central Statistics Agency this week reported a nearly 30 percent increase in the inflation rate in April from the previous year, driven mostly by a 32 percent jump in food prices.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid