USAID Announces Food Aid to Eritrea, Praises government for assistance to displaced people

ASMARA, Eritrea - Hugh Parmer, the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Humanitarian Response announced that the U.S. would contribute 40,800 metric tons of food aid to Eritrea, valued at approximately $20 million.

"From what I have seen in my visit to Eritrea, there are no famine conditions at this point," Parmer said. "The U.S. contribution of food aid to Eritrea will help prevent this from occurring, and we hope other governments will join in this effort."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will contribute 37,000 metric tons of the food aid. Of this, 19,500 metric tons will be wheat, which will be given to the Eritrean Grain Board to replenish the national grain reserve. The remaining USDA food will be given to the World Food Program in response to the needs of drought-affected and internally displaced persons in Eritrea. Additionally, 3800 metric tons of pulses, vegetable oil and supplemental foods will be contributed by USAID to address drought needs.

During his visit, Parmer also announced that USAID would contribute $1.8 million to the UN and non-governmental organizations for shelter, water and sanitation projects to benefit internally displaced persons and people suffering from the affects of the drought.

The visit to Eritrea is Parmer's final stop on a five-nation tour to assess drought conditions in the Horn of Africa. During his visit, he met with government officials and the World Food Program to discuss drought conditions in Eritrea. He also traveled to Senafe in southeastern Eritrea and toured several government-run camps for internally displaced persons.

"From what I have seen since I've been here, the government of Eritrea is doing an excellent job of managing the needs of 483,000 their displaced countrymen," Parmer stated. "We are happy to assist this effort by contributing assistance."

After departing the Horn of Africa region, Parmer will travel to Rome and Brussels to discuss the drought situation with officials of the UN's World Food Program and the European Union. Parmer has spent the last two weeks in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea assessing the impact of the drought and evaluating the infrastructure for meeting the food needs of the region.

Hugh Parmer has been USAID's assistant administrator for the Bureau for Humanitarian Response since 1998. USAID is the United States government agency responsible for development and humanitarian assistance around the world.

Contact: Kim Walz or Gabrielle Bushman