Ethiopia Needs $245 Million by March to Stop More Severe Hunger

ETHIOPIA-DROUGHT-AID-UN

Local residents await the arrival of the UN secretary-general in Ogolcho in Ethiopia's drought affected Oromia region to tour various UN drought relief projects on Jan. 31, 2016.

Photographer: Colin Cosier/AFP via Getty Images
  • Poor rains have left over 20 million people in need of aid
  • Crisis response received almost half of $1.4 billion appeal

Ethiopia needs $245 million of food aid in the next three weeks to prevent a “potentially catastrophic escalation” in chronic malnutrition cases from the end of April after a lack of rain left millions of people in danger of starvation, Save the Children said.

More than 400,000 children will probably need supplementary feeding because of “severe acute malnutrition” later this year after the country’s worst drought in half a century ruined harvests and killed livestock, the non-governmental organization said Wednesday in a statement. Another 1.7 million women and children may become severely malnourished, which can lead to stunting in minors, if there’s a break in food aid delivery, it said.

“It can take around 120 days to purchase and transport food into Ethiopia through Djibouti, so we all must step up now,” said Save the Children Ethiopia Country Director John Graham. “The situation here is as grave as I have ever seen it in the 19 years I have spent in Ethiopia.’’

The effects of El Nino, the ocean-warming trend, have left 10.2 million Ethiopians needing food aid this year. Another 7.9 million “chronically food insecure” people in the Horn of African country of almost 100 million people are receiving support through a regular safety-net program already funded by the government and donors. Aid groups and the Ethiopian authorities have received about half of a $1.4 billion appeal for emergency funds, Save the Children said.