Home | News    Wednesday 28 January 2009

East and central Africa facing food insecurity- Oxfam


By Tesfa-alem Tekle

January 27, 2009 (NAIROBI) — An estimated 17 million people are in need of emergency food assistance and over 25 million are food insecure in the Horn, East and Central Africa regions, Oxfam said on Monday.

Oxfam’s Regional Campaigns Manager Michael O’Brien told journalists in Nairobi that despite falls in food prices on global markets; the cost of cereals in Ethiopia remains 54 to 338 percent higher than at the same time last year.

According to O’Brien, about 4.6 million people in Ethiopia were dependent on emergency assistance to meet their immediate food needs in 2008, in addition to the 7.3 million chronically food insecure people being assisted through a national safety net program.

"In Sudan, at least 3.9 million people, comprising internally displaced in Darfur and 1.2 million farmers, pastoralists and the displaced in the south are food insecure," O’Brien said.

“The climate change and global financial recession which are going to continue in the foreseeable future will affect food security across the region. These will make hunger worse," O’Brien warns.

He said about 3.7 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), comprising mainly of the IDPs and refugees, are food insecure. In eastern part of the vast African nation due to the recently fighting, about 250,000 people are internally displaced and rely on external assistance to cover their basic needs, he said.

According to Oxfam about 2.5 million Burundians are receiving humanitarian assistance and or at risk of food insecurity by last year.

The recent price increases following the harvest are of particular concern as this should be when prices are at their lowest. It added

"Across the Great Horn of Africa, it had been hoped that the near to normal October-December rains will ease pasture shortages, replenish water resources and improve livestock conditions and pastoral terms of trade in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti. Unfortunately, the rains were not adequate and overall, pastoral food security may not improve significantly in 2009," he said.

The Oxfam representative has called on governments in the Horn, East and Central Africa to ensure the realization of the right to food and social protection of people living in extreme poverty.


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