UN releases $18.5m to drought hit Ethiopia

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Aids agencies distributes food to drought ravaged Ethiopia. Twitter photo.

The United Nations has released $18.5 million from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in financial support to Ethiopia currently ravaged by drought.

The money is specifically to assist people suffering from malnutrition and severe water shortages in Ethiopia’s Somali region – the worst drought-stricken part of the country, APA said.

The financial support was announced on Tuesday by UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien who paid a visit to Ethiopia.

More than 5.6 million people in Ethiopia are in need of emergency food assistance after parts of the country’s low lands is hit by El- Nino induced drought.

“I was recently in Ethiopia’s Somali region, where I saw the devastating impact this drought is having on people’s lives, livestock and livelihoods,” O’Brien said “Time lost means lives lost so I am releasing CERF funding to provide urgent aid to people in need – now – when they need it most.”

According to CERF, the latest allocation will immediately provide affected people with access to water and health, nutritional and agricultural services. The funds will also help pastoral communities, who are most in need, and thousands of whom have been forced to move in search of water and pasture.

However, the grant covers only a small portion of what is required in 2017 to address rising challenges.

“Humanitarians will use these funds to save lives, but it is a bridge that must be matched and surpassed urgently. Millions of people’s lives, livelihoods and well-being depend on continued donor support,” noted Mr. O’Brien.

The drought is also one of the worst to hit the Horn of Africa in decades.

According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the region received only a quarter of the expected rainfall between October and December last year, leaving over 17 million people in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda in crisis and emergency food insecurity levels.


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