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Ethiopia: WFP Widens Assistance, Feeds 5 Million

Ethiopia: UN food agency widens assistance to feed nearly 5 million

3 July 2008 - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it is expanding its operations to feed 4.6 million people in Ethiopia, in response to the Horn of Africa nation's pressing appeal for help in staving off hunger-related deaths.

"Ethiopia is facing a perfect storm with soaring food prices and a devastating drought," said the agency's Executive Director Josette Sheeran. "We hear the Government's plea, support it, and are moving to reach all we can."

WFP currently provides food aid for over 3 million people in the country, and needs contributions to step up its programme. The agency faces a nearly 400,000 metric ton food shortfall from July through December and must also repay over $30 million in internal advances.

"The Government of Ethiopia has been building innovative safety nets to ensure the most vulnerable are receiving targeted help," Ms. Sheeran said. "But these programmes are now overwhelmed. We aim to help the Government scale up quickly."

To help 750,000 of the most vulnerable - including children, pregnant women and those living with HIV/AIDS - WFP is assisting Ethiopia in delivering emergency nutritional support.

Along with Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti, Ethiopia is suffering the combined effects of soaring food prices and prolonged drought.

Yesterday UN agencies, including WFP, sounded the alarm about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in these five countries and in Eritrea that has left more than 14 million people in urgent need of food aid.

ENDS

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