News / Africa

WFP: Ethiopia's Emergency Food Reserve Near Zero

Multimedia

Audio

The head of the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) in Ethiopia says the country's emergency food stocks are almost completely exhausted, with drought conditions expected to worsen before they improve.  There are also growing concerns about food shortages in Ethiopia's reclusive neighbor, Eritrea.

WFP's Ethiopia Country Director Abdou Dieng says despite a good response to international appeals for food aid, Ethiopia faces a critical shortfall in emergency supplies.  He says the reserve established by the government to prevent a recurrence of past food crises is almost empty.

"There is food reserve, but today it's almost at zero level. We cannot count on that. Now what we are trying to do is increase the level of the food which can be kept in the reserve.  We can go up to one million tons [and] we're talking about 80 million people here who need food, so this is exactly where we are working together to try to increase the food reserve," noted Dieng.

Of Ethiopia's 80 million people, Dieng says between 13 million and 14 million are receiving some sort of food assistance. The government estimates 4.5 million need emergency food aid, but experts expect that number to keep rising until the rains come, allowing farmers to plant and harvest life saving crops.

The WFP official says $200 million in donations has been received since the onset of the current drought. Dieng estimates another $100 million will be necessary to meet Ethiopia's needs until the end of the year.

Dieng also said the WFP is monitoring reports filtering out of Eritrea suggesting food shortages there as well.  The reports are hard to verify, and Eritrea's autocratic government has denied the drought is affecting food supplies.  But satellite images indicate the country is affected by the same weather pattern that has victimized much of the Horn of Africa.

Dieng says Eritrean refugees arriving at camps in northern Ethiopia are saying the Asmara, Eritrea, government tries to prevent them from leaving, and that conditions are deteriorating.

"All this is speculation," Dieng added.  "What we know is you can't have a drought in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya in a certain area and not having the same [nearby]. But what we heard from the government in Eritrea, they say there is no problem when it comes to food aid in Eritrea.  But for people crossing the border and coming into Ethiopia that we interview, we know there is some problem, and we are monitoring that very closely."

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson last month said many Eritrean refugees fleeing to Ethiopia are suffering from life-threatening malnutrition.  He urged officials in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, to cooperate with U.N. agencies and international organizations to address the issues of hunger and food shortages.

The WFP's Dieng estimates the number of Eritrean refugees at camps in northern Ethiopia at a few thousand.  That is nowhere near as large as the more than 150,000 Somali refugees in southern and eastern Ethiopia, and the even larger numbers in Kenya.

He says the U.N. agency technically maintains an office in Asmara, but has not had any international staff there since 2005, and is not able to monitor conditions in the nation of 5 million.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More