ADDIS ABEBA – United Nations has allocated over 45 million USD from its Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to provide immediate assistance to drought affected people in three east African nations.
The newly allotted fund will finance efforts to scale up food and nutrition assistance, safe water provision and livelihoods protection, among others to drought-affected people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Of this funding envelop readied by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Office, about 10 million USD is allocated for Ethiopia, said the UN humanitarian agency in Addis Abeba.
Failed 2019 spring rains have led to a new drought in the Horn of Africa, affecting southern parts of Ethiopia.
Reports of water shortages and deteriorating livestock body conditions and livestock deaths from lack of pasture and water are increasing.
Ethiopia’s National Meteorological Agency also confirmed that below average performance of the 2019 summer (June-September) rains is expected to hit south eastern parts of the country, mostly Somali region.
“Food insecurity is expected to peak between June and October, with more than half of the population in affected areas estimated to face crisis level of food insecurity,” said Aeneas Chuma, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia.
The coordinator has called for “urgent action to put in place (and) measures to mitigate the worst of the drought impact”.
“Malnutrition and health-related morbidity and mortality as well as protection risks exponentially increase during a drought, especially amongst the most vulnerable sections of society,” he cautioned.
The Somali region has already prepared a prioritized Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan targeting 1.27 million people across their 11 zones.
The Plan seeks 20.7 million USD to mainly address the drought impact, according to UN OCHA. Half of the requirement is for emergency agriculture and livestock interventions.
Taking into account other drought-affected areas outside Somali region, some 3.8 million people are expected to require early action to avoid a humanitarian crisis.
This may need an estimated cost of US$40 to 60 million, according to UN estimates.
“If we don’t respond quickly, the humanitarian context is bound to quickly deteriorate, leading to unnecessary suffering, a costlier humanitarian operation and loss of development gains,” Chuma noted.
By Our Staff Writer