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Jesuit warning on approaching famine in Ethiopia

As the country faces another disaster perhaps on a scale worse than that seen in the 1980s, fresh calls for help for Ethiopia were issued this week by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).

"Supplies have to arrive and not just be pledged" said JRS Country Director Br Stephen Power. "In the 1980s, delays led to many of the approximately one million deaths."

JRS workers have observed that the food and water shortages in Ethiopia are causing internal displacement of people with pastoralists from Afar being seen miles from their area, looking for food for their animals.

Br Power said: "If we get mass population movements this means people will be displaced for the next planting. Result: no crops, no harvest and a huge tragedy. We have to act now and act effectively."

He also warned that the scarcity of food and water is breeding the danger of violence.

"And this time a difference from the 1980s is that because of the high rate of HIV infection many of those with poor nutrition will die sooner."

Independent Catholic News

Jesuit Refugee Service | Ethiopia Alert 8/1/03
Church Mobilizing to Help Ethiopia, Eritrea and Middle East (Zenit)
US Cancels Ethiopia's External Debt of $29m (The Daily Monitor)
Some 148,737 Refugees Live in Ethiopia: UNHCR (The Daily Monitor)
Eritrea appeals for aid to ward off famine (Reuters)
Salesian missionary sounds alarm on Ethiopian famine (12/11/02)

30 Jan 2003