The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on Tuesday called for quick and concerted efforts to avert a drought-induced humanitarian catastrophe in Ethiopia.
The WFP warned in its situation update, stating that early action is required to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Ethiopia.
“Livestock are dying, crops are failing, and an estimated 5.7 million people wake up hungry every day in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia as the Horn of Africa grapples with the most severe drought since 1981,” the WFP said.
At least 6.8 million people have been affected by the drought in Ethiopia, according to WFP.
“The shortages of water and pasture are devastating livelihoods, forcing families from their homes across the regions in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia,” the WFP said.
Three consecutive failed rainy seasons have devastated crops and caused “abnormally high” livestock deaths, it said.
It stressed immediate and scaled-up support is critical to avoid a major humanitarian crisis in the drought-affected areas of Ethiopia and help communities become more resilient to extreme climate shocks.
In responding to the needs of 3.5 million of the most drought-affected people, it emphasised $130 million is urgently needed to provide assistance over the next four months.
Although the WFP is already on the ground providing families with cash and emergency aid, it stressed that affected communities need scaled-up support now, while the dry season is at its peak.
The WFP launched its Drought Response Plan, aimed at 3.5 million people with emergency food and nutrition assistance, school feeding programs as well as climate change adaptation and resilience-building activities. Malnourished children and mothers in the area are treated with nutritionally fortified foods.
In mid-January 2022, unusual migration of more than 17,000 families with over 1.4 million livestock was reported in Ethiopia’s Somali region alone, as they searched for water and green pasture. Thousands of livestock reportedly died along the way, it was noted.
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