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Agency warns famished Ethiopia and Eritrea 'running out of time'

British Catholic aid agency CAFOD fears that Ethiopia and Eritrea could be running out of time to save millions from the effects of a severe food crisis.

This week the US government's Famine Early Warning System said that food in the region could run out within a month. Up to 11 million people in Ethiopia and two million in Eritrea face hunger after one of the worst ever droughts.

Siggy Janssen from the agency's office in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa says that she was deeply worried by a recent trip to a health clinic treating malnourished babies in one of the affected regions. The clinic is in the north of Ethiopia above Mekele, an area which has been badly hit by the drought.

"It was very harsh seeing the effects that the food crisis is already having in the country," she said. "I saw one two year old who only weighed two kilos after receiving food from the clinic for a month, she was smiling for the first time."

"It was all the more shocking as I have an eighteen month son who weighs 13 kilos."

"I saw many children that I assumed to be only a few months old from their size only to be told that they were three or four."

Independent Catholic News

CAFOD | Ethiopia and Eritrea running out of time warns CAFOD
Famine Early Warning Systems Network
Ethiopia Alert (Jesuit Refugee Service)
Salesian missionary sounds alarm on Ethiopian famine (15/11/02)
Famine in Africa (BBC)
Opposing Interests Can Perpetuate World Hunger, Pope Warns (Zenit)

21 Feb 2003