President, UN Deputy Chief Visit Drought-hit Areas

ADDIS ABABA – President Sahle-Work Zewde and UN’s Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed visited communities affected by the drought in the Eastern region of Ethiopia on Monday.

Ethiopia is experiencing a prolonged drought after three consecutive failed rainy seasons – affecting 6.8 million people living in Oromia, SNNP, Southwest and Somali regions.

The drought is compromising fragile livelihoods heavily reliant on livestock and causing a worsening food security while eroding coping strategies for the most vulnerable, according to the UN.

During Monday’s visit, President Sahlew-work and the UN deputy secretary general Amina met some of the people affected by the drought in Mergacho Kebele of Qebri-Beyah district in Somali region.

Governor of the region Mustafa Omer said the delegation was briefed on the drought situation in the region while visiting some of the people affected by the drought.

“It was agreed to scale-up ongoing response while also giving due attention to mitigating the underlying causes of vulnerability,” he said.

The Federal government pledged to scale up the provision of water trucks, food, animal feed and essential medicines to the drought-affected areas of the region, fortnights ago.

Apart from the national response, resource mobilization has been ongoing at regional and local levels, including but not limited to 200 million Birr or approx. $4.3mln by the region’s administration in the form of water trucking, food distribution, and emergency shelter items.

Harrari regional administration also provided 10 million Birr (approx. $199,991) while the Kabridahar University provided eleven trucks of animal feed as part of a 5 million Birr or nearly $100,000 pledged donation for the drought response.

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