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[Published: Wednesday March 04 2009]


Urgent food supplies stuck in Djibouti


Addis Ababa, 04 March-(ANA)- Beneficiaries of food aid in Ethiopia could face tougher times unless supplies that are stuck in Djibouti port arrive quickly in the country, sources said.


Officials blamed congestion at Djibouti port, land-locked Ethiopia's main access to the sea, but insisted the situation was improving.


"It was a problem during October and December," Mitku Kassa, Ethiopia's Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, said. "Through negotiation and discussions with the officials, especially Dubai Port World, which manages the port, and STDV, the port agency, the [situation] is improving."


A recent joint assessment by the Ethiopian government and its humanitarian partners found that 4.9 million people would require humanitarian assistance over the next six months.


The government and donors have appealed for US$389.3 million worth of food to alleviate the situation.


"A large quantity of WFP's [UN World Food Programme] food is at the port," Paulette Jones, WFP spokeswoman in Addis Ababa, said. "These [food] commodities are needed urgently to assist beneficiaries who are still suffering from the impact of the drought, high food prices and [low] global food stocks."(ANA)

FA/ANA/04 March 2009---


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