37,000 people in need in Dire Dawa

Tens of thousands of people living in the eastern Ethiopian region of Dire Dawa will be in need of emergency food relief next year because of a poor harvest, the Dire Dawa Administration Disaster Prevention and Preparedness office has warned. The office head, Tesfamariam Seyoum, said on Friday that an early warning team from the Dire Dawa administration had predicted that the number in need would reach as high as 37,000 people, the pro-government Walta Information Centre reported on Saturday.

Tesfamariam Seyoum told Walta that the food shortages had been prompted by a poor harvest this year with actual harvest yield just two thirds of the 15,800 tonnes that had been expected. Starting from next April he said that the needy would require 470 tonnes of relief food each month.

Meanwhile, Walta also reported on Friday that 35 people had been killed or maimed by landmines in the Afar Regional State in the last three months. Large scale demining programmes and mine awareness education activities are being carried out in both Ethiopia and Eritrea to clear the areas and sensitise the populations living in areas affected where mines were laid during the two year border war fought between the two countries.