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U.N. Allocates $6M Emergency Fund To Address Health Problems In Ethiopia

The U.N.’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) recently allocated $6 million to address several health challenges facing Ethiopia, IRIN reports. Fidele Sarassoro, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator, said the country is having difficulty meeting the population’s basic health needs. The federal Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) has announced that rising malnutrition and food insecurity are a “growing concern and likely to lead to 6.2 million Ethiopians relying on food aid, out of a population of approximately 77 million,” IRIN writes, adding that currently 4.9 million people in the country receive food aid (7/27).

“The so-called belg rains, which normally fall between mid-February and mid-May, performed poorly, leaving many vulnerable families in an even more difficult position. Increasing admissions to therapeutic feeding programmes have also been recorded in several regions,” according to a U.N. CERF release (7/23).

According to the DRMFSS, the country has a shortfall of 176,000 tons of food, which is likely to increase to 390,000 tons by December 2009. CERF funding will focus on addressing malnutrition, food security problems and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) outbreaks (7/27).

In related news, the World Food Programme (WFP) recently said it will require a total of 744,000 metric tons of food to meet its commitments in Ethiopia this year, Ezega.com reports. Mohammed Diab, the WFP country director, said, “all of our programmes in this country [Ethiopia] are under stress right now, with the total shortfall currently standing at more than 199,000 metric tons of food, worth $171 million” (7/25).