Ethiopia

USAID Airlift Delivers Food to Southeastern Ethiopia

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GODE, Ethiopia -- An airlift delivering critically needed food supplies arrived in southeastern Ethiopia today. Hugh Parmer, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Humanitarian Reponse, ordered the airlift after visiting the area on March 14 and determined that there was an urgent need for special foods for malnourished children.
The airlift consisted of 30 metric tons of high protein biscuits and 10 metric tons of therapeutic milk. This will meet the immediate needs of malnourished children affected by successive droughts in Gode zone. UNICEF and Save the Children/US will implement the special feeding programs. A delivery of blended foods and oil is expected soon.

"I'm pleased that the food has arrived in Gode," Parmer said from Asmara, Eritrea, where he is on the last stop of a five-nation tour to assess drought conditions. "I was extremely concerned about what I saw in Gode, and this food should address the immediate needs of the people who are most at-risk."

USAID/Ethiopia mission director Douglas Sheldon and representatives of the Ethiopia government flew to Gode today to hand over 40 metric tons of special foods. The airlift is valued at approximately $300,000.

The food that was delivered via airlift today is in addition to 400,000 metric tons of food aid that the U.S. is providing to Ethiopia this year. The U.S. is the only international donor to offer a significant response to the U.N. World Food Program's most recent emergency drought appeal for Ethiopia - "Relief Food Assistance To Victims Of Natural Disaster."

The Ethiopian government and the U.N. estimate that 8.1 million people are suffering from serious food shortages.

Parmer is on the final leg of a five-nation visit to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea to assess the impact of the drought and evaluating the infrastructure for meeting the food needs of the region. After departing the Horn of Africa region, Parmer will travel to Rome and Brussels to discuss the drought situation with officials of the U.N.'s World Food Program and the European Union.

Hugh Parmer has been USAID's assistant administrator for the Bureau for Humanitarian Response since 1998. USAID is the United States government agency responsible for development and humanitarian assistance around the world.

Contact: Kim Walz or Gabrielle Bushman