Ethiopia Appeals for $1bln Urgent Aid amid Locusts Plague Threat

ADDIS ABEBA – The Ethiopian government and its humanitarian partners have appealed for a billion US dollar support to international donors based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia, Dr. Catherine Sozi, highlighted the complex humanitarian landscape in the country to permanent and observer missions to the UN office and other international organizations.

She also told the donors about the possible future threats “that risk to further aggravate the humanitarian situation if not soon controlled, including the unprecedented desert locust infestation and possible pre-and post-election tensions”.

“Seven million Ethiopians are in acute need and are targeted for life-saving multi-sector assistance in 2020 at a cost of $1 billion,” Dr. Sozi said.

Over 80 percent of these people are women and children.

“At least 81 implementing partners in Ethiopia stand ready to scale up operations if backed by adequate and timely funding,” Dr. Sozi stated.

Every year, Ethiopia, with the support of its international partners, strives to address the food and non-food needs of millions of Ethiopians affected by disasters.

Officials said Chronic climate-related disasters such as droughts and food insecurity, conflict displacements and related protection and access challenges, as well as disease outbreaks such as cholera and measles remain the main drivers of humanitarian needs.

“Ethiopia has for decades been grappling with recurrent drought and seasonal flooding, the frequency and intensity of which have been gradually increasing,” Mitiku Kassa Ethiopia’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission Commissioner, told the gathering.

“Since late 2017, we have also been dealing with the unfortunate consequences of inter-community conflict,” Mitiku noted.

The immediate focus of the government is now to provide life-saving multi-sector humanitarian support to people in need.

“The vast majority of displaced people who have either returned to their homestead or resettled elsewhere require recovery and rehabilitation support, conflict-affected areas require grassroot peacebuilding initiatives, and recurrently drought-affected communities require sustainable water solution and livelihood support,” he said.

“These communities are unlikely to achieve food self-sufficiency in the immediate future without sustained recovery and resilience-building investment,” he added.

The Commissioner and the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator called on the continued generosity of international partners to support the ongoing humanitarian response as well as to scale up durable solutions programs.

Image: There are fears the locusts – already in the hundreds of billions – will multiply further and could contribute for food insecurity [Photo File] 

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