Slow donor response closes aid programmes to Eritrea, UN humanitarian office says

16 June 2005

Relief assistance programmes in Eritrea, where more than two-thirds of the people have been facing famine, are being trimmed or shut down because of slow donor response to appeals for help, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

More than 70 per cent of the UN joint appeal for $157 million is intended for food assistance for the Horn of Africa country, but only about $82 million has been pledged so far, OCHA says.

After its 1998-2000 border conflict with Ethiopia, Eritrea's problems were aggravated by the severe drought of 2002, which led to an almost total failure of that year's harvest and resulted in acute shortages of drinking water and fodder. With inadequate rainfall since, more than two-thirds of the population have been exposed to the risk of famine, OCHA says.


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