Ethiopia

Alarms are sounding over growing food shortage in Ethiopia, LWR taking action

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Baltimore, March 1, 2000 -- As many as eight million Ethiopians face severe food shortages this year, the United Nations World Food Program announced last week. Large amounts of food are needed, transportation routes are long and difficult, and grain must be pre-positioned before July rains render roads impassable, international aid officials note.
"The situation is very, very bad - with wells drying up in areas of southern Ethiopia, hundreds of thousands of livestock animals already dead and people forced to sell their remaining animals," said LWR's East Africa regional representative, Francis Stephanos, after a trip to Ethiopia this week. Although food has been short at this time of year for much of the past decade, the severity of these and other warning signs remind aid workers of trends before Ethiopia's 1984-85 famine.

Lutheran World Relief, which carried out extensive aid work in Ethiopia during the 1980s, has stepped up its monitoring of the situation with the Joint Relief Partnership there, an interchurch relief program that includes the Lutheran church in Ethiopia. LWR President Kathryn Wolford is making emergency funds available and LWR is accepting donations for Ethiopia relief.

Governments of the major Western nations are actively considering how to provide the enormous quantities of food aid that may be required-an estimated 850,000 metric tons of grain. Last week, the government of Ethiopia made an early and encouraging pledge of 100,000 metric tons toward that goal. About two million people at greatest risk will receive the first shipments.