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Ethiopia: aid workers exaggerated drought threat By Tsegaye Tadesse
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia accused some aid agencies on Friday of exaggerating the impact of a drought afflicting the country to raise money under false pretences. Deputy Prime Minister Adisu Legesse said in a statement that some 4.6 million people and around 75,000 children needed help because of the failure of April-March rains. “But this does not mean there is famine … These humanitarian organisations are showing pictures of emaciated babies on television, telling the world 6 million children are malnourished and that there will be a calamity unless they receive funds,” he said. “While we appreciate assistance whenever it is needed, we reject being used as publicity to raise funds under false pretences,” said Adisu, who is also Ethiopia’s minister of agriculture and rural development. Adisu did not name the aid agencies in question.
Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa’s second most populous nation, needs $325 million to provide 400,000 tonnes of food, especially in the south and southeast regions bordering Somalia and Kenya, according to the United Nations.
The dire conditions have revived grim memories of the country’s 1984-1985 famine, which killed more than 1 million.
About 85 percent of Ethiopia’s 81 million people still rely on subsistence agriculture.