Eritrea + 1 more

USAID fact sheet: Food security crisis in Ethiopia and Eritrea

Total Population
65 million
3.5 million
People at Risk in Average Year
1-3 million
People at Risk
11 - 15 million
1.1 -1.4 million
Projected Emergency Food Needs
1.5 million MT
280,000 - 350,000 MT


Since July 2002, when the first signs of crop failure became apparent, USAID has provided approximately 430,000 metric tons of food to Ethiopia, valued at approximately $179 million. USAID emergency food assistance to Eritrea since July 2002, totals 44,000 metric tons, and is valued at $19 million. This food assistance includes wheat, blended cereal, beans and vegetable oil.

Inadequate and erratic rains over short and long rainy seasons have resulted in widespread crop failure and created a grim humanitarian outlook in Eritrea and across large areas of eastern and southwestern Ethiopia. Ethiopia's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee and USAID's Famine Early Warning System were crucial to alerting policy makers of the critical need.

Widely observed pre-famine indicators include:

  • Rapid rise in grain prices
  • Non-availability of short season produce
  • Non-availability of seed
  • Significant livestock death / poor terms of trade for livestock
  • Deterioration in nutritional status

The next significant harvest is not expected until November 2003.

Food insecurity is chronic in Ethiopia and Eritrea. USAID is working with the governments to address longer term structural problems through health, agriculture, education and natural resource management programs.

Government and World Food Program Appeals: Contributions and Shortfalls
Oct 2002 - Dec 2003
Nov 2002-Dec 2003
Need (in metric tons)
1,775,000 MT
350,000 MT
USG Response to Date
430,000 MT
44,000 MT

*Ethiopia's donor- supported 300,000 MT grain reserve currently stands at 120,000 MTs; more than 200,000 MTs have already been released against pledges from the international donors and the Ethiopian government.

For more information about USAID's emergency food assistance programs in Africa, please visit

The U.S. Agency for International Development has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years.

(202) 712-4320