June 12, 2003: Headlines: COS - Ethiopia: COS - Thailand: Diplomacy: Hunger: United States Mission to the European Union: U.S. ambassador and RPCV Tony Hall: Ethiopia is sliding towards famine

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ethiopia: Peace Corps Ethiopia : The Peace Corps in Ethiopia: June 12, 2003: Headlines: COS - Ethiopia: COS - Thailand: Diplomacy: Hunger: United States Mission to the European Union: U.S. ambassador and RPCV Tony Hall: Ethiopia is sliding towards famine

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-22-73.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 12:11 am: Edit Post

U.S. ambassador and RPCV Tony Hall: Ethiopia is sliding towards famine

U.S. ambassador and RPCV Tony Hall: Ethiopia is sliding towards famine

U.S. ambassador and RPCV Tony Hall: Ethiopia is sliding towards famine

U.S. Ambassador Hall: "Déjà vu all over again, Ethiopia is sliding towards famine"

"In 1984, the world was horrified when we first saw pictures of people starving in Ethiopia - children with skin hanging off of their bones, the elderly brushing away flies and people dying all over. I am sad to say that we are seeing those pictures again.

"Nobody wants to use the F-word, but famine is threatening the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea again. Some people are saying famine is coming and, unless we do more to help, they will be right. We still have a few weeks to act, before the "hungry season" hits and men, women and children start dying in massive numbers," stated Ambassador Tony P. Hall of the US Mission to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture - the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

"I was the first Member of Congress to visit Ethiopia during their famine of 1984-85. I did not think that I would ever see a crisis that bad again. When I was there this February, things were almost as bad and it has only gotten worse. So far, we have averted widespread famine, but there are pockets of extreme food insecurity, where people are dying in excess of emergency levels. Although we are facing a grave crisis, we are not yet witnessing widespread starvation on the scale that we saw during 1984-85. But I have to stress that unless we all do more immediately, we will have to say that the Horn of Africa is experiencing its first famine of the 21st Century."

Last summer, the US Famine Early Warning System Network (established after the famine of 1984-85) issued a warning, prompting the Government of Ethiopia to issue its first appeal for emergency assistance in July 2002. Due to a continual deterioration in the situation, in April 2003, the Government of Ethiopia increased the number of people in need from 11.3 million to 12. 6 million. There is an estimated food need of more than 1.52 million metric tons. In addition to the perilous food security situation, the deterioration in health, nutrition, and sanitation conditions have made this a full-blown humanitarian crisis. As expressed in the UN Common Appeals Process, there are 12-14 million people threatened with starvation in Ethiopia and 1.5 million in Eritrea.

Last week, the Executive Board of the UN's World Food Program adopted a final report that stated, "we see the crisis in the Horn of Africa as our top priority at this time. We urge the entire UN system and donor governments - both old and new, big and small - to recognize the magnitude and severity of the situation. We recognize the need to work together, especially when the immediate crisis has passed, in order to prevent this situation in the future. "While our response to the threat of famine has improved, it still needs to be strengthened in order to guarantee that famine will never again threaten the Horn of Africa or elsewhere. Our moral duty demands no less."

In a recent letter to WFP Executive Director Jim Morris, Ambassador Hall wrote, "the Centers for Disease Control estimates that the excess mortality for children under-five during the past six months was in excess of 22,000 children in the four regions surveyed…UNICEF is currently estimating that 80,000 children in Ethiopia are severely malnourished and in need of therapeutic care. I would like you [WFP] to consider tapping into your General Fund or Immediate Response Account for up to $20 million to allow for the immediate purchase of 15,000 - 20,000 tons of blended food locally, in the region, or in Europe. This would go far in meeting the gaps envisaged over the next few months for WFP supplementary needs, and as appropriate, the needs of the respective host governments and partner Non-Governmental Organizations."

The United States has provided 41 percent of Ethiopia's emergency food requirements for 2003 and 45 percent of Eritrea's food requirement, and an additional $32.7 million in humanitarian relief funds for emergency health and nutrition, water and sanitation and agricultural recovery activities. Since the onset of the crisis, in 2002, the United States pledged to deliver a total of 808,660 tons of food to the people of Ethiopia, with additional pledges likely. Other donors have pledged an additional 632,707 tons. In 2003, USAID has already delivered 356,389 tons of food assistance to Ethiopia. This represents more than half of its 2003 pledge of 628,820 tons. The USAID food assistance represents 54.7 percent of the total amount of 650,949 tons of food delivered to Ethiopia. Of the food aid provided through WFP for current operations, the US has contributed 63 percent to Ethiopia and 75 percent to Eritrea. Additionally the US has contributed an additional 270,000 tons since April.

Ambassador Tony Hall has visited Ethiopia six times since his first visit in 1984. During his 24-year tenure as a Member of Congress, he founded the Congressional Hunger Center and was chairman of the House Select Committee on Hunger. The US Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome, which he heads, is dedicated to "putting into action America's commitment to alleviate hunger and build hope."

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Story Source: United States Mission to the European Union

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ethiopia; COS - Thailand; Diplomacy; Hunger



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