Older people, nutrition and emergencies in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian government's policy on food aid targeting excludes people thought to be over 60 years from participating in Employment Generation Schemes (food for work), regardless of their physical ability or 'real' age. General food distributions (GFD), if carried out at all, do target vulnerable groups including older persons but only account for 20% of food distributed. In practice older people, particularly women, are often excluded. They are often not regarded as permanent residents in the areas where they presently live as they have moved from their homes due to widowhood, poverty or crises. Supplementary feeding focuses on children under five years and lactating mothers. Older people are not included in this intervention despite the fact that this group often have poorer nutritional status and great difficulty digesting the coarse wheat and lentils that are usually distributed in the GFD.