19 May 2007 04:18

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  • Title: [SW News](Xinhua) UNICEF:Humanitarian Crisis Looms in Eritrea
  • From: []
  • Date:  [Sat, 20 May 2000 01:36:14 ]

UNICEF:Humanitarian Crisis Looms in Eritrea

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Story Filed: Friday, May 19, 2000 1:32 PM EST
UNITED NATIONS (May 19) XINHUA - A U.N. children-oriented agency Friday
warned of a looming humanitarian crisis in Eritrea, where the government
estimates that as many as 1 million people have been displaced within the
last week due to conflict with neighboring Ethiopia.
With an additional 300,000 people already suffering form drought-related
hunger and illness, nearly half of Eritrea's population of about 3.1 million
people may be in need of an international humanitarian lifeline.
The hardest-hit regions are Shambuko, Tokombiya, Molki, Haykota, LalayGas,
Tesenei and Barentu, UNICEF said in a press release issued here.
"In the space of one week we've seen an overwhelming humanitarian crisis
develop," said Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF. "I can't recall
another instance when such a serious natural disaster was followed so
quickly by a man-made disaster. And it's the innocent civilians -- including
a quarter of a million children under the age of five -- who have their
backs against the wall."
Bellamy said that UNICEF, along with other relief organizations, had not yet
received full donor funding for the drought relief effort in Eritrea and
elsewhere in the Horn of Africa. But she said relief agencies had no choice
but to seek even more assistance.
UNICEF is also providing ongoing humanitarian support to some 340,000 people
in Ethiopia who had been displaced during earlier phases of the conflict,
she said.
In 1999, UNICEF provided some 1.8 million U.S. dollars to support health,
nutrition, emergency education, and water initiatives for war-displaced
populations in northern Ethiopia's tigray region.
UNICEF will continue that work, albeit within the security constraints of
the present situation, she said.
On Thursday, U.N. agencies and the government-run Eritrean Relief and
Refugee Commission (ERREC) jointly organized a donor conference to review
the humanitarian situation and jump-start relief efforts.
Bellamy said a number of international donors had pledged to support the
heightened relief effort, but added that far more support would be required.
UNICEF said a flash appeal would be launched soon.
"The first step is to provide full funding to relief efforts for
conflict-affected and drought-affected communities across the Horn of
Africa, including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Sudan, "
she said. "The second step is to work with the two governments to bring
about an immediate and peaceful cease- fire and a lasting peace. Without
one, the humanitarian situation is only going to worsen."
Created in 1964 by the U.N. General Assembly, UNICEF is the only U.N. agency
dedicated exclusively to children, and works for child protection, survival
and development within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child.
Copyright XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

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