UNICEF warns of looming drought danger in Eritrea and Ethiopia
The head the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today warned that drought-related illnesses in the Horn of Africa have begun to severely affect the population, and that women and children "are already in the teeth" of this destructive dry spell.
Speaking from Addis Ababa, Carol Bellamy indicated that UNICEF-supported feeding programmes in Ethiopia and Eritrea were already seeing hundreds of severely malnourished children, warning that as people migrated from drought-affected areas those numbers would increase.
"These are the first signs of a creeping disaster," Ms. Bellamy said. "We can expect to see a lot more malnutrition if the situation doesn't change, and if more assistance for food, heath and water supplies doesn't arrive."
"There's a struggle for survival as we speak," she added.
UNICEF air shipments have already begun to arrive, with some 45 tons of emergency aid supplies deployed to the region last month.