Poor rains prompt new warnings of looming hunger and disease in Ethiopia

23 August 2004

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) voiced deep concern today over increasing malnutrition and disease in the south-central Oromiya region of Ethiopia due to erratic and delayed rains there, warning that more crop seeds were urgently needed to avert a crisis.

Only 10 days ago, OCHA warned that because of poor rains in the East African country, international aid was needed to feed a growing number of hungry, which this year will reach some 8.5 million, people - one out of every eight Ethiopians.

A recent OCHA field mission to Oromiya Region predicted a poor harvest of the main food crops - maize and sorghum - and warned that what few seeds had been provided had come too late.

The agency added that unless the delayed rains lasted through September, there would also be serious water shortages.

Earlier this month UN aid coordinators opened an office in the Somali region of Ethiopia to provide assistance in the areas devastated by drought.


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