OCHA Operations director welcomes Eritrea’s commitment to progress, calls on international community to support

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 20 Nov 2012

(New York, 20 November 2012): Following a two-day visit to Eritrea, OCHA Operations Director John Ging has called on the international community to support the country as it strives to end hunger and enhance livelihoods resilience to severe climatic conditions.

During his visit, Mr. Ging met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Osman Salih, the Minister of National Development, Dr. Giorgish Teeklemichael, and the Political Advisor to the President, Mr. Yemani Gebreab, as well as humanitarian partners and representatives of the donor community. He was pleased to hear of the renewed partnership between the Government and humanitarian and development actors, which will soon be finalized through a Strategic Partnership Cooperation Framework for 2013 to 2016. He highlighted that humanitarian action can help provide Eritrea with a solid foundation for development and that, working together, the Government, humanitarians and development actors can build the resilience of Eritrean communities to withstand shocks and cope with climate change.

Mr. Ging was briefed on Eritrea’s impressive progress towards the Millennium Development Goals – most particularly reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. “We must do all that we can to support these efforts,” said Mr. Ging.

Visiting the villages of Embeyto and Kodadu, John Ging saw first-hand the benefits of a water project implemented jointly by UNICEF, the Ministry of Land, Water and Environment, the Regional Infrastructure Department and the community. The project provides nearly 2,000 people with access to safe and adequate drinking water and is maintained by a local water and sanitation committee involving equal numbers of men and women. Mr. Ging also visited a health centre just outside Asmara City, where he met children receiving therapeutic feeding for malnutrition.

“Malnutrition is something no child should have to experience,” said Mr. Ging. “It causes unspeakable physical pain and impairs cognitive development. I am deeply impressed by the community’s efforts to monitor this problem and to refer all those in need to centres such as the one I saw, where they receive comprehensive care from dedicated and diligent professionals. Yet, more must be done. Working together, we can build food security and enhance nutrition amongst the Eritrean population, supporting the Government in their efforts to halve the number of people in hunger by 2015.”

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