Ethiopia suspends 42 NGOs as hunger worsens

42 NGOs suspended for being involved in activities "out of their mandate", as UN warns the number of people who need food aid in Ethiopia will increase to 6.2 million from 4.9 million unless more food aid can be secured.

Tuesday July 21 2009

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi speaks to the media at his office in Addis Ababa, April 13, 2009. Ethiopian authorities have suspended the operations of 42 non-governmental organisations allegedly involved in activities that are

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi speaks to the media at his office in Addis Ababa, April 13, 2009. Ethiopian authorities have suspended the operations of 42 non-governmental organisations allegedly involved in activities that are "out of their mandate” in the Southern region of the country. REUTERS 

By ARGAW ASHINE, NATION Correspondent

ADDIS ABABA, Tuesday

Ethiopian authorities have suspended the operations of 42 non-governmental organisations allegedly involved in activities that are "out of their mandate” in the Southern region of the country.

Ethiopia's Southern regional state justice office chief Mr Yilma Meresa told this writer that those NGOs were out to interrupt the peace and development of the region.

Mr Yilma refused to disclose the name of the suspended organisations. However, he hinted that most of them were local NGOs.

The Nation has learnt that international humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and two local gender rights organisations are among the suspended NGOs.

The Ethiopian government moved to revoke the licence of the NGOs following accusation of their alleged involvement in reporting human right abuses in the rural areas.

Ethiopian government publicly accused some NGOs of supplying “inaccurate” information to the United States' State Department, which was published in March 2009.

Food aid

Meanwhile, United Nations humanitarian office in Ethiopia has warned that the number of people who need food aid in Ethiopia will increase to 6.2 million unless more food aid can be secured.

The recent number of people requiring food aid has been 4.9 million and now the country needs additional 390,000 metric tonnes of emergency food aid for the coming three months.

Ethiopia leads the region by registering an average 10 per cent annual economic growth, has been avowed to end hunger but has achieved less success.

Landlocked Ethiopia is also facing port congestion at port Djibouti which delays the flow of food aid to the country.

Recently, World Food Program (WFP) urged Ethiopian authorities to prioritise the transport of food aid rather than agricultural fertilizer, which is equally important for the second most populous African nation at 85.2 million (UN, 2008).

According to WFP, Ethiopia government agreed to prioritise transporting food aid and allocate more berths for ships to offload available food aid at port Djibouti.

Correction

Following our report on Wednesday, we have since established that Medicin Sans Frontieres was not expelled from Ethiopia region. The group involved is: Missionary of Saint-Marry Followers that also uses the acronym MSF. We regret the error.

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