China delivers emergency food aid to Ethiopia

Editor: Zhang Xiang
ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua)
-- China on Saturday delivered portion of the first batch of emergency food assistance to Ethiopia.

Wei Hongtian, Charge d'Affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, handed over the assistance certificate to Wondirad Mandefro, Ethiopian State Minster of Agriculture, in a ceremony held at the Office of the Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The handover was witnessed by Ahmed Shide, Ethiopian State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, and Qian Zhaogang, Economic Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia as well as officials and diplomats from the two countries.

The charge d'affairs said the Chinese government has decided to provide Ethiopia with two batches of gratis emergency food aid valued at some 24 million U.S. dollars, as part of humanitarian assistance to the people affected by drought in the Horn of Africa region, about which the international community is concerned much.

Months ago, China pledged to provide humanitarian aid to drought affected people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

The 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa region has affected livelihoods of over 12 million people in countries of the region including Ethiopia.

In this move, China has delivered large quantities of wheat to Ethiopia, and it is put in the central warehouse in Adama town, 90 km away from Addis Ababa, as the first batch of the 8,139.4 tons of wheat and 715.15 tons of rice donated by the government of China, said Ethiopian State Minister of Agriculture.

According to the minister, the Chinese government has pledged around 20,000 tons of emergency food valued at 24 million dollars.

Wei said China attaches great importance to the agriculture development and the food security in Africa. He said China has engaged itself in various agricultural cooperations with African countries including Ethiopia, in different channels.

"In the future, besides food assistance, China's agricultural cooperation with Africa will focus on technology demonstration, personnel training, infrastructure construction, promotion of agricultural production and trade, and experience sharing agriculture development," said the Charge d'Affairs.

The rest portion and the other batch of the emergency food assistance pledged by China is expected to come in November and December.

Wei assured that the rest batches of emergency food aid would come to Ethiopia on schedule. The Ethiopian state minister said the Chinese government is one of those donors that demonstrated its strong friendship with the Ethiopian government and its people by extending appreciable humanitarian support at critical time.

"The recent donation of 100, 000 U. S. dollars by a Chinese private company, Huajin Group Ltd, for food aid is a manifestation that even private companies join us in our efforts to containing problems associated with such natural disasters," said Wondirad.

"Despite a steady economic growth achieved these past eight years in Ethiopia that reached an average of 11 percent annually and our continued efforts to maintain and accelerate the momentum through the GTP, we are confronted by climate change induced disasters, of which drought remains the major one," said the minister.

"While reducing disaster risk and vulnerabilities through development interventions, the government of Ethiopia in collaboration with its partners is taking all the necessary measures towards further enhancing its early warning and response system with the view to reducing potential impacts of disasters, including that of drought enhanced preparedness and provision of timely and appropriate responses.

"The government of the People's Republic of China has been one of our major development partners supporting us in all these efforts," he added.

The state minister commended the Chinese government and its people for standing with Ethiopia shoulder to shoulder at the critical time by donating appreciable size of emergency food aid.