Eritrea: Statement by Carolyn McAskie, Emergency Relief Coordinator A.I.

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 16 Jun 2000
The Emergency Relief Coordinator a.i., Ms. Carolyn McAskie, expressed her grave concern over the dire humanitarian situation in Eritrea, which has deteriorated significantly since the outbreak of fighting in May. Recent assessments undertaken by the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations indicate that more than one million people, a third of Eritrea's population, are suffering the combined effects of drought and war.
Of this number, some 200,000 are sheltering in IDP camps, while the remainder have either sought refuge with host communities or are left living in the open air, without access to food, water or basic sanitation.

Furthermore, the recent fighting has taken place in Eritrea's "bread basket" regions, which account for three-quarters of the country's food production. With the window for the annual planting season rapidly closing with the approach of the rainy season, there will be a need for external food aid for at least one year.

The ERC a.i. wishes to draw the attention of the international donor community to a looming crisis of potentially catastrophic proportions, and urges them to respond generously to appeals for assistance.

16 June 2000

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