Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Drought in Ethiopia Leaves 10 Million Without Food

The government of Ethiopia increased the estimated number of people in dire need of food aid because of the drought to 10.1 million. More than 50 percent of the affected population are children.

Charity organization Save the Children said the drought is the worst in five decades and has been blamed on the El Niño phenomenon caused by warming of the Pacific Ocean.

Last month, the United Nations children's charity placed the number of Ethiopians at risk of hunger at 8.2 million. BBC Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead said the government has initiated a large scale national effort, allocating almost $200 million to address the food crisis. He added that the estimated 10.1 million people - or about a tenth of Ethiopia's population - need more aid from the international community.

Save the Children noted that an "emergency response" to effectively deal with the food shortage could cost as much as $1.4 billion. The charity said in a statement that about 400,000 children are at risk of suffering from severe acute malnutrition next year. This can lead to mental and physical delays in their development.

A number of other African nations, including South Africa and Malawi, have also been affected by drought.

In 1984, a famine in Ethiopia led to hundreds of thousands starving to death.
However, the Ethiopian Embassy in London stated last month that the country is not threatened by "famine of any kind, let alone anything close to the severity of that of 1984.
Ethiopia was also hit by a drought in 2011 and 2008, causing a food crisis.

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