Ethiopia appeals for aid as people ‘slowly starve’

ETHIOPIA has appealed for help from foreign donors after its estimates for the number of people needing food aid rose

The country’s Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission said there are now 12.6 people million in need.

The announcement came just days after leading charities warned that shortfalls in donations to the UN food agency meant that millions of Ethiopia children were being “slowly starved”.

Ethiopia hopes to stage its own Live Aid-style concert next month, with organisers seeking to raise $1.7m for famine relief. There have been warnings that the situation could turn out to be worse than in 1984-85, when nearly one million people died.

Disaster Commission head Simon Machale yesterday said an extra 1.2 million Ethiopians needed food aid and that the country now required more than 250,000 tons to see it through to the end of the year.

A poorer than anticipated harvest in January was one of the reasons for the increased need. Mr Machale denied he revised figures meant that Ethiopia was facing a famine. However he warned if the food requirements were not met, that would be the result by the end of the year.

On Monday, aid agencies working in Ethiopia accused donor communities of letting down millions of drought-stricken children.

Because of the humanitarian situation in Iraq, the needs of about 40 million people facing starvation across Africa were in danger of being ignored, UN World Food Programme head James Morris has warned.

Rations to the millions at risk in Ethiopia have been cut by as much as 20%, as the government tries to make limited supplies last.

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