File/Photo WFP/Petterik Wiggers

Seven Million Ethiopians in Need of Food Aid

ADDIS ABEBA – About seven million Ethiopians are in need of emergency food, says the 2020 Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).

This annual joint Government and humanitarian partners’ document, released on Tuesday, indicates that the country is in need of over 1 billion US dollars in humanitarian aid.

The number of people in need of aid has reduced from 8.3 million people last year to 7 million now.

This year, the government and its humanitarian partners are targeting of the most acute needs.

Conflict displacement, shortage of rainfall in some parts of the country, floods in other parts and disease outbreaks remain key drivers of humanitarian needs in Ethiopia today.

The desert locust infestation that has so far been ravaging three countries in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, poses a significant food security risk if not quickly contained.

“The immediate focus of the Government of Ethiopia will be to provide life-saving assistance to fellow Ethiopians in need, be they displaced, food insecure or affected by other life-threatening emergencies,” said Mitiku Kassa, head of National Disaster Risk Management Commission.

“This year, the HRP was released earlier than in previous years, which will allow faster dispatching of required emergency food and non-food supplies if funding is availed on time,” he added.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) to Ethiopia, Dr. Catherine Sozi, praised the commitment of the Government and aid partners to address the still significant humanitarian needs of millions of Ethiopians in the food and humanitarian supports.

“Last year, partners stretched their human and financial resources to provide timely assistance to existing and newly developing humanitarian needs,” Dr. Catherine said.

“The 2019 HRP was overall 76 percent funded, which is a great success. However, life-saving non-food sectors were critically underfunded,” she said. “I call upon the international community to provide the required food and non-food resources to enable (in a) timely and adequate response to the most vulnerable Ethiopians in 2020.”

In addition to responding to the needs of populations affected by inter-communal conflict, the Government and partners said they will also continue to address the needs of food-insecure people and high levels of malnutrition in areas affected by consecutive years of drought and other climate-related livelihood threats.

Besides, “the Durable Solutions Initiative, which we, together with our international partners launched in December 2019, will provide a common operational framework to sustainably address internal displacement in Ethiopia. Only by addressing the root causes of humanitarian crisis will we achieve our ambition to create a stable and prosperous Ethiopia,” Commissioner Mitiku added.

Image: Some seven million people in Ethiopia are estimated to need humanitarian assistance this year. Photo File/US embassy

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