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2.3 Million Eritreans Need Food Aid Due To Drought

2.3 Million Eritreans Need Food Aid Due To Drought, Lost Production – UN

Some 2.3 million Eritreans, about half the country's population, require some kind of food assistance because of drought and loss of production and livestock over the past four years, the United Nations emergency relief office reported today.

In some areas of the Horn of Africa country, 15 per cent of children are malnourished, while in others 25 to 30 per cent of children are affected by acute malnutrition, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Eritrea has only produced 13 to 18 per cent of its annual food requirement over the last few years due to many factors, including poor harvests resulting from five consecutive years of drought, lack of market stability, food price inflation, and the loss of assets and livestock.

More than 70 per cent of the rural population currently falls below the poverty line, and coping strategies after many years of hardship are badly over-stretched.

Food insecurity and widespread poor nutritional status among women and children remain the paramount humanitarian concerns in Eritrea.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan recently wrote to Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki and to the Security Council, expressing his growing concern about the restrictions placed on humanitarian operations in Eritrea by the Eritrean Government.

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