July 12, 1999

U.N. Warns of Food Crisis in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Warning of humanitarian disaster, U.N. agencies appealed Monday for emergency relief for 5 million Ethiopians threatened with starvation.

Drought has struck in several parts of the country and driven millions from their homes, six U.N. agencies said in a joint statement.

In northeastern Ethiopia, the drought was compared to one in 1984, which led to a devastating famine that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The carcases of dead cattle lining roads in some areas, and the migration of millions of people were alarming signs, the statement said.

``The worst drought affected areas risk a major humanitarian disaster,'' the statement warned.

It said about 426,000 tons of food was needed to feed Ethiopia's drought victims until the end of the year.

The statement was issued by the U.N. World Food Program, the U.N. Childrens Fund, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the U.N. Development Program, the World Health Organization and the U.N. Population Fund.

Except for an appeal for $7.5 million for health, water, sanitation and agricultural projects, the appeal did not specify the cost of feeding all those people.

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