Djibouti Faces Food Shortages
DJIBOUTI (AP) _ More people than originally thought have been affected by food shortages caused by a prolonged drought in northeast Africa, and more food aid will be necessary to keep them from starving, a U.N. spokeswoman said Saturday.
Catherine Bertini, the U.N. envoy to the Horn of Africa, said an original assessment that indicated 100,000 of Djibouti’s 662,000 people need emergency food will likely be revised upward to 150,000.
``We have found in Ethiopia and here in Djibouti that statistics drawn up and based on the assessments in November and December are wrong because more people are in need,″ said Bertini, who is also head of the U.N. World Food Program.
Bertini was scheduled to arrive in neighboring Eritrea later Saturday where 350,000 of the 3.5 million population were estimated in November to need food. That figure will also be revised upward, she said.
Djibouti, a minuscule former French territory tucked in the crook of the Horn of Africa on the Gulf of Aden, has become Ethiopia’s main port since a 23-month border conflict with Eritrea has shut off the Red Sea ports of Massawa and Assaba.
Bertini was in Djibouti to assess the port’s capacity to deal with more than 500,000 tons of relief food that will arrive in the coming months.
Djibouti’s population is made up of nomadic Afars and ethnic Somalis. Most of the people who need emergency food aid are nomads living outside Djibouti-Ville, the country’s principal town.