Drought emergency spirals in Ethiopia amid major aid shortages

Tue Mar 7, 2017 10:55am GMT

By Katy Migiro

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Millions of drought-stricken Ethiopians needing food, water and emergency medical care are not receiving it due to funding shortages, the United Nations said, warning the crisis will worsen if spring rains fail as predicted.

Some 5.6 million people need food aid in the Horn of Africa nation, which has been hit by a series of back-to-back droughts.

"The needs relating to the developing emergency exceed resources available to date," the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Monday.

"Each day without food assistance exponentially increases human suffering, lengthens the recovery period of affected people, puts increasing pressure on humanitarian and development systems, and the interventions become that much more expensive."

It is three times cheaper to treat children who are moderately, rather than severely, malnourished, it said.

But it takes at least four months to procure, ship and deliver emergency supplies to Ethiopia, it said.

The U.N. appealed for more than $900 million in aid for Ethiopia in January. [nL5N1F72RN]

Almost 13 million people across the Horn of Africa need aid due to drought, including 2.7 million in Kenya, 2.9 million people in Somalia and 1.6 million people in Uganda, OCHA said.   Continued...

Farmers carrying empty plastic bottles wait for cooking oil and food aid in the village of Estayish in Ethiopia's northern Amhara region, February 11, 2016. Picture taken February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Katy Migiro
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