Aid agencies appeal to EC for more food

News and Press Release
Originally published
Eighteen international aid agencies, including Oxfam, have appealed to the European Commission to make more food available for Ethiopia.1 The joint appeal requests the immediate provision of 150,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) of extra food. Aid agencies say that this food is urgently needed for people who are in crisis after years of drought in Ethiopia.
To date, the EC has only committed 60,000 MT of food to aid agencies, which will not arrive for at least three months.2 Agencies say this will not meet the needs of people who are facing starvation. The EC has indicated that it will provide another 70,000 MT of food to aid agencies this year, but this will still fall far short of immediate requirements.

Nick Roseveare, Oxfam's Emergency Co-ordinator for the Horn of Africa said, "The pressure is on to get aid to Ethiopia now. Hundreds of people have already died in south east Ethiopia. Ethiopia needs a rapid and generous response to the aid agencies' new appeal for food, to prevent this crisis from spreading to other parts of the country. In North Wollo in the northern highlands where Oxfam is also working, people - particularly children- will quickly become sick and their lives will be in danger if we start running out of food to give them."

Some of the EC food pledges for last year were never delivered. They are only now beginning to arrive. These should allow some aid agencies to continue food distributions. Oxfam intends to distribute 10,000 MT of food in Delanta, North Wollo to 108,000 people between May and October if the EC provides the food aid in sufficient quantity.

However, previous distributions in North Wollo have been disrupted because EC food aid has been delayed or not arrived. The reserves of food in Ethiopia are now very low and without immediate allocation of new food aid agencies will be unable to undertake distributions as planned over coming months.

Even the best estimates suggest that the current EC food commitment of 60,000 MT cannot reach the region for at least 3 months. New allocations in response to the aid agencies' appeal could take even longer.