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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 20:27 GMT 21:27 UK
Ethiopia's unprecedented crisis
Dead cattle in Afar
The drought has not hit the headlines
An early warning network financed by the United States says the failure of rains in Ethiopia has left the country facing the prospect of drought on an unprecedented scale.

As many as 14 million people could need feeding by early next year.

The US warning network says that "timely delivery and distribution of additional food aid is crucial for maintaining minimum nutritional levels".

"Delivery of basic food aid now will avoid the need for widespread and expensive supplementary and therapeutic feeding later," it said.

The World Food Programme says that six million Ethiopians will need food aid in the next few months.

WFP warns that it is facing a shortfall in its pledges of food from major donors of tens of thousands of tonnes.

The latest warning about Ethiopia comes as millions of people across Southern Africa are already in the grip of famine.

Last week, the WFP's director James Morris completed a tour of the six worst affected countries in Southern Africa.

Yet in comparison with southern Africa, the crisis in Ethiopia has been largely ignored.

See also:

06 Aug 02 | Africa
26 Jul 02 | Africa
02 Jul 02 | Africa
25 Jul 02 | Africa
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