Ethiopia - Emergency Aid Feb03

Subject: The poor need water and seed

I spent a week in drought-stricken areas of Ethiopia with two Parliamentary colleagues to assess the famine. My findings were well-received and supported by the European Parliament (Water is the Answer, 25th January 2003).

I spoke with some of the hundreds who squatted in the hot sun to receive their monthly 12.5Kg ration (maize and oil). Every one of them begged me to help secure an adequate supply of water and seed to prevent disease and death. We must help the poor to achieve food self-sufficiency and self-reliance and I have urged the EU to focus its aid accordingly.

I am delighted that the European Commission has responded to my plea for immediate food aid to Ethiopia. They have granted another 5 million for emergency food aid operations that will secure an additional 25,000 metric tons of food for the starving population.