The United Nations’ “Save the Children” have been of tremendous help to Ethiopia since the beginning of its first drought in 50 years, which struck last year. However, this help is likely to end soon if donors do not provide more funds by the end of February. According to Save the Children, Emergency food aid for 10 million Ethiopians will run out in April, therefore something has to be done fast to save lives. Donors have already borrowed 220,000 metric tons from the country’s strategic grain reserve to meet emergency needs.
The government has pledged to use as many resources as needed to reverse famine and has asked donors from the international community to assist. $245 million is to be provided within three weeks, for emergency food aid to help prevent a malnutrition catastrophic that may arise in drought-afflicted parts of Ethiopia from the end of April when the main ‘hungry season’ begins. This drought is affecting communities from Somalia to Eritrea.
The situation here is as grave as I have ever seen it in the 19 years I have spent in Ethiopia and we now only have a tiny fraction of time for the international community to help to stop this,” warns Save the Children Ethiopia Country Director John Graham. “It can take around 120 days to purchase and transport food into Ethiopia through Djibouti– if these emergency funds do not arrive in time, there is no question that there will be a critical fracture in the food aid supply pipeline during the main ‘hungry season’ which peaks in August.”
Ethiopia continues to endure the devastating impacts of this drought which is worse than the last one which occurred in 1984, which has already left about 10.2 million people in need of emergency food assistance, including 6 million children. More than 400,000 children will need urgent supplementary feeding for severe acute malnutrition this year – a condition that can lead to physical stunting and mental development delays. Also, not less than 1.7 million children, pregnant and lactating women are suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, and are at risk of sliding into further crisis if the food pipeline breaks down.