Ethiopia UN provides 600000 to help feed conflictaffected in Somali region

14 January 2008The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated nearly $600,000 to provide Ethiopians in the country’s strife-torn Somali region with food aid. The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated nearly $600,000 to provide Ethiopians in the country’s strife-torn Somali region with food aid. The funds will be used by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to help Ethiopian authorities deliver WFP food to the Somali region, where conflict between Government forces and the Ogaden National Liberation Front has intensified this year. To date, WFP has provided almost 17,000 metric tons of food for the five zones under military operations, though it notes that a shortage of military escorts continues to hamper timely deliveries. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the humanitarian situation in the region has been compounded by poor rains and the decreasing availability of pasture and water, while food prices are being pushed up by restrictions on the cross-border movement of goods. Last month, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes noted that fears are growing that up to 4.5 million people could soon face famine-like conditions in the region. “There are strong reasons to believe such a catastrophe could occur in the next few months if all the necessary action to avert it is not taken,” Mr. Holmes said, following a visit to the area. He added that insecurity and Government restrictions are making it difficult for aid workers to even reach those in need.” In a related development, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) is helping the Ethiopian Government develop a preparedness and response plan amid fears of a large-scale meningitis outbreak next month.

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