report reveals hardship for children in Eritrea
NEW YORK, 26 July 2004 – Hundreds of thousands of children in Eritrea
are living in extreme poverty because of drought and conflict with Ethiopia. A
UNICEF report says 425,000 children under 14 are affected with many children
under five suffering acute malnutrition.
Half of all families are dependent on women who are
themselves experiencing malnutrition because of food shortages. Child mortality
rates are rising and in areas of extreme water shortages deaths from diarrhoea
are on the increase.
UNICEF says there is evidence of more children living on
the streets in urban areas where there are similar food shortages. In two
months, the Eritrean Relief and Refugee Commission had only been able to
provide flour to 100,000 people.
UNICEF is supporting 30,000 malnourished children with
supplementary food and providing 30 therapeutic feeding centres with supplies
and equipment. 35,000 people are receiving water by truck but much more is
An additional 3.8 million US dollars is needed to fund
health, nutrition, water and sanitation projects and to support children
displaced by the crisis for the rest of the year.
Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a two-and-a-half-year war from
1998 that claimed tens of thousands of lives. The border is now patrolled by UN
peacekeepers and both countries have been warned to end the stalemate to avoid
devastating consequences for their people.