Ethiopia: Concern over food for the displaced

NAIROBI, 10 March (IRIN) - The international aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has expressed concern about the general food situation in the Shawe Camp at Dolo Mena, Bale, Oromiya Regional State, where an estimated 30,000 displaced people are awaiting resettlement.
In a statement, MSF said it was currently treating over 200 severely malnourished children under five in its therapeutic feeding centre at the camp. Admissions to the feeding centre had continued to increase over the first four weeks of its operation, to 208 patients by end of February.

"Through our medical work in the camp, it has become clear that poor living conditions and an inadequate general food distribution in the camp resulted in these high figures," said MSF Head of Mission Rik Nagelkerke.

Most of the displaced have arrived from West and East Hararghe since last May/June due to a shortage of cultivable land. The statement said that although the Oromiya State government had identified a permanent site for the displaced, "it is not clear when and under which conditions the displaced in the camp will be resettled".

MSF has expressed its concern to the authorities and is seeking an improved general food distribution for the camp residents.

Meanwhile another organisation, CARE, has said nutrition conditions are improving in Oromiya's Hararghe region, one of the country's most drought-affected areas.

"The large-scale food distribution of the last four months appears to be having positive effects on people's nutritional status," CARE said in a statement, following a multi-agency study in the region last month.

"The situation in Hararghe has for the moment been stabilised through very large food distributions," said Marcy Vigoda, CARE Director in Ethiopia.

"However, people's coping mechanisms are seriously depleted, and any interruption of food aid would lead to a very quick deterioration of nutritional conditions," she warned. "Localised areas of high malnutrition and vulnerability continue to exist."


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