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Aid Shipments Causing Congestion in Djibouti Port
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Addis Ababa, July 21, 2003 (IRIN) - Food aid shipments to Ethiopia are facing hold-ups due to congestion caused by the massive quantities arriving in Djibouti port.

Both the UN's Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (EUE) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said the large-scale arrivals of aid had led to congestion at the docks. At present some five ships are offloading around 128,000 mt of aid.

But WFP told IRIN that the congestion was not holding up deliveries to families needing food. "This will not delay deliveries to beneficiaries," the spokesman insisted.

The current aid operation to Ethiopia is one of the largest in its history. In June, a staggering 222,700 mt of assistance was brought in through the port - most of it emergency aid.

This month - which is part of the hungry season when farmers are awaiting the fruits of their harvest - some 250,000 mt are expected to be delivered.

"A high level of arrivals of food aid in Djibouti port has led to some congestion," EUE said in a report. "This is partially due to the diversion to Djibouti of one vessel originally scheduled to offload in Berbera in Somaliland, which is now waiting at anchor in Djibouti."

WFP added: "Efforts are being made to improve the delivery to Ethiopia of urgently needed vegetable oil and corn-soya blend, which has recently arrived in Djibouti."

One hundred trucks, sub-contracted from the country's defence department, are now being used to bring the aid into Ethiopia - usually taking four days to deliver it.

A further 100 government trucks - each ton of food costing between US $32 and US $38 to deliver - are due to be deployed, which aid agencies say will ease the congestion.

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