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Ethiopia: ICRC and ERCS launch food assistance operation in Afar and Somali Regions

16-10-2002 News Release

Addis Ababa - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) started a major relief operation to provide emergency food assistance to some 100.000 people, mainly pastoralists, living in villages of Zone 3 of the Afar Regional State and Afdem and Mieso Woredas of Shinile Zone of the Somali Regional State.

With over 40 distribution points, the most vulnerable people living in the area will receive wheat, high protein food and vegetable oil in order to face the consequences of a prolonged dry season which heavily affected the livestock, the primary economic resource of the nomadic population.

As part of an initial survey, the ICRC together with the ERCS gathered information on the consequences of the drought and the depletion of alternative food resources used by the population to cope with this problem, which is also exacerbated by violence and clashes between different ethnic groups.

The aim of this operation is to provide emergency aid to the most vulnerable but also to prevent a further household level decapitalisation before the cattle, which survived the drought start again to produce milk and recover their market value. At the same time, it should help avoiding the consequent decline of the health conditions of the population.

As part of the entire action, ICRC delegates and ERCS staff and volunteers will also constantly monitor the situation among the local population and consequently adapt further distributions.