U.S. Asks Ethiopia to Speed Transport of Relief Supplies
American diplomats, watching 160,000 tons of food pile up on docks and ships, have asked the Ethiopian government to begin moving more famine-relief supplies inland, a U.S. relief official said Tuesday.
The United States requested the assignment of more trucks and labor so that 4,000 tons of food a day can be moved out of the Red Sea port of Assab instead of the current 1,100 tons to 2,000 tons, said Ted Morse, deputy director of the U.S. Inter-Agency Task Force on the African drought.
Morse said in an interview that the problem was raised Friday at the United Nations with Wolde Giorgis Dawit, the Ethiopian official in charge of the relief efforts.
The issue also was pressed in a formal request handed to the Ethiopian government Saturday by U.S. embassy officials in Addis Ababa.
Since the outpouring of aid began last year to help millions of potential victims in drought-ridden Ethiopia, Western relief officials have complained that the government is giving priority to shipping military equipment used in the war against separatist rebels.