U.S. official announces more relief to Ethiopia, urges more help

Addis Ababa (dpa) - A senior official of the of the United States aid agency USAID appealed Wednesday to the donor community to provide urgent drought relief food aid to Ethiopia and rush the delivery of the pledges already made "to avert imminent tragedy''.

Roger Winter, USAID Assistant Administrator, also announced a new "non-food'' contribution by Washington worth 7.2 million dollars in response to the worsening emergency in the country at present.

"More pledges have to be made and deliveries of earlier pledges have to be speeded up to avert a looming tragedy the country faces,'' he said.

Over 11 million Ethiopians currently need of emergency relief, and this figure could increase to over 14 million by June when the main rainy season in the country begins, according to figures by the government relief agency and the World Food Program (WFP).

The country's needs for the entire year has been put at 1.445 million metric tons of food grain and 125,000 metric tons of enriched food for the malnourished.

Winter also announced an additional American food contribution of 27,000 metric tons valued at 12.2 million dollars towards the country's needs of 1.45 million ton for 2003.

Winter made the appeal for more aid from donors and announced his agency's latest relief aid at a press conference following the two-day working visit he had made to severely drought-affected parts of the country along with the U.S. ambassador Tony P. Hall.

Both Winter and Hall, who had visited Ethiopia during the 1984-85 drought that claimed the lives of close to one million people, said what they saw this time around was no less of concern, which must be addressed urgently "to avert a worsening crisis''.

"We need more pressure by the United Nations for additional assistance from the donor community to meet Ethiopia's needs until June and to the end of the year to save lives,'' he said.

He stated that deliveries of "pledged'' food aid were inadequate. "We all have to do more to expedite delivery of pledged aid in time to avert further disaster in case the rains fail again this year,'' Winter said.

dpa gh ds AP-NY-02-19-03 1449EST

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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 02/19/2003 14:49:57


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