– USD 740 million required for emergency food aid
The reoccurrence of drought and rain failure have induced the number of people in need of emergency food aid to increase to 7.8 million up from the 5.6 million identified during the last drought assessment in different past of Ethiopia.
According to the National Disaster and Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), rain failure and unexpected frost and flooding have contributed to extending the impact of the drought engulfing additional 2.063 million people in the Southern, Oromia and Amhara Regional States.
Debebe Zewdu, public relations director at NDRMC, told The Reporter that the biannual survey, which determines the status of crop production and the extent of the required food aid, has ended up reaffirm the drought has worsened in the three regions. The main reason for the rising number of drought affected people is a major rain failure which was expected to improve during the current spring or “belg” season. Crops and vegetables have been damaged by frost that occurred past the summer or “meher” season in the three regions, he said.
Debebe said that the additional number (the newly affected section of the society) is the highest across the Oromia Regional State at 1.56 million, while Southern and Amhara regions account for 304,819 and 203,115 of the total figure, respectively.
The additional 2.06 million people has contributed to stretching the emergency efforts, elevating the required level of food aid to 317,846 metric tons (mt) just for the period between April to June, 2017. This requires USD 740 million roughly, a USD 25 million increase over the projections made by both the government of Ethiopia and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) back in January. Earlier projections have estimated that USD 715 million will be required to provide food for the drought affected people in the country which has now increased to USD 740 million.
Last month, the Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) reported that “back-to-back seasons of poor or non-existent rainfall in 2015, has exacerbated the strongest El Niño phenomenon recorded in the last fifty years in Ethiopia. This resulted in one of the worst droughts in Ethiopia in decades”. Hence, the Indian Ocean Dipole, a wind current emanating from the Indian Ocean, which has contributed to the failure of rain in low land areas in Ethiopia forcing 5.6 million people to seek some USD 948 million worth of humanitarian assistance (both food and non-food items 600 million and 348 million, respectively).
Making the matter worse, according to Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, the response the government has received from the international community remains to be less satisfactory. In his recent parliamentary address, the PM said that his administration is exerting efforts to curb negative outcomes of the drought despite facing stiff resource competitions as the crisis engulfs East and West Africa and, the Middle East regions in general.
One way to reduce the impacts, both the humanitarian partners and the government have to distribute water and animal fodders in addition to the food aid.