The number of Ethiopians requiring food aid this year has surged by over 1.5 million from previous estimates, as reported by the United Nations agencies. After the failed monsoon, almost 4.5 million people are now left on the mercy of foreign aid, the UN Office for the World Food Program, Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha), UN children’s agency, and UNICEF said.
The number therefore, exhibited a 55% increase on the initial projections of 2.9 million. Hence, as per the present estimates the donors need to provide some US$230 million extra to meet the assistance needs in Ethiopia.
Acting humanitarian coordinator and Unicef representative Gillian Mellsop said that although donors have shown great generosity in contributing but more is needed to prevent the unnecessary human sufferings in Ethiopia. He also said that the situation they are faced with at present has forced them to change the plans, since the prevalent conditions demands scaling up assistance, she said in a recent interview.
Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, exhibiting a double-digit growth every year. However, failed monsoons stalled its growth run and had a devastating consequence on food supplies for its population comprising 96 million people.
The failed rains in the country proved to be worse than what was predicted by the National Meteorology Agency in the beginning of the year. As a result of food insecurity increased in the country by leaps and bounds and malnutrition registered unbridled rise, as told by Ocha’s acting head of the Ethiopia office, David Del Conte.
The shortage of rainfall also affected the areas that normally produce surplus food such as in the Central Oromia region. The UN agencies also reported that livestock in the country is also affected by the inadequate rainfall. It was reported by the Fewsnet (Famine Early Warning Systems Network) in its August report that unusual livestock death were continuing and that the prices and demand for livestock had fallen sharply.