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Red Cross Taking Action in Ethiopia

NEWS RELEASE: Red Cross

The International Red Cross is taking action to assist vulnerable people in drought-struck Ethiopia, in the face of worsening food shortages there.

Large parts of eastern Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, are facing a serious food crisis caused primarily by drought. A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimate this week stated more than 16 million people in the area were in need of emergency food assistance. Ethiopia was the worst-hit country, with an estimated eight million people in need of assistance.

New Zealand Red Cross spokesman, Tony Blackett, said Ethiopia could cross a dangerous and life-threatening threshold before mid year without humanitarian intervention.

“We hope Kiwis will support the Red Cross Movement in its action to reduce human suffering in the area.”

Mr Blackett said that the Red Cross would be providing at-risk individuals in the worst-affected areas, such as pregnant women, young children and the elderly, with fortified cereals as a nutritional supplement. This would complement staple food distributions by the Government, and the bulk food interventions being planned by the United Nations and other aid agencies.

The Red Cross would also provide some seed and fertiliser to farmers, and would establish employment generation schemes to provide work for a targeted group of beneficiaries. The schemes, such as agricultural terracing and sanitation, will help develop infrastructure and ensure income to the vulnerable parts of the society.

ends

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