Senior UNICEF official begins visit to Ethiopia to assess drought situation

19 June 2008

The deputy chief of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) arrived in Ethiopia today for the start of a four-day visit to review the humanitarian situation in the south and southeast of the country, which has become parched by drought.

Hilde Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, is expected to meet with Government officials, UN agencies, key donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) while in Ethiopia, according to a statement released in Addis Ababa, the capital.

As many as 4.6 million Ethiopians are now in need of immediate humanitarian assistance because of a lack of seasonal rains, coupled with rising food prices. The worst affected areas are in three administrative states of the Horn of Africa country: Oromio, Somali Region and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR).

Children are among the hardest-hit by the current conditions, with about 75,000 children estimated to be facing severe acute malnutrition already.

Earlier this month the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revised its appeal for Ethiopia to at least $325 million to meet the growing demand for aid.


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UN agencies drastically revise appeal as Ethiopian drought intensifies

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