ETHIOPIA: Hunger Looms as Drought Hits Country

ADDIS ABABA January 29, 2016(CISA)- Millions of people in Ethiopia are facing intense food shortage after UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued a warning on January 14, 2016 of a break in food aid deliveries.

“Without additional resources the food sector projects a full-pipeline break in a couple of months,” said a report from OCHA.

According to Vatican Radio, the situation especially in Ethiopia has been made worse by the El Nino weather phenomenon which creates a cycle of drought and flooding.

According to Michel Roy, the Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, the drought in Ethiopia and resulting food shortages means that the nation could slide into a famine situation later this year unless prompt action is taken to tackle this shortfall.

“We must act now to prevent further tragedies,” he said in an interview with Vatican Radio.

Climatologists also say that the condition is made more intense by frequent climate change which takes a toll on the agriculture based societies and economies of the region consequently affecting their livelihoods.

Neil Marsland, a senior technical officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) emergency and rehabilitation division said his organization needs help to carry out its mission of helping vulnerable people predict, prepare and protect themselves against such intense phenomena and preserve their way of life.

“These weather patterns are creating huge challenges for the agricultural systems. What we need to do as international, national and local communities is to make these vulnerable communities more resilient to the effects of extreme climate,” Marsland said. He also explained a four pillared program of prediction, preparation, insulation and relief which will be spearheaded by FAO in partnership with the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) and other civil society actors.

FAO has recently launched an appeal for $50 million to implement a plan to help protect the lives and livelihood of Ethiopian farmers and livestock keepers. The appeal comes at a time when international donor funds are already under considerable stress from the broad array of major crises around the world.

According to the UN the current drought threatens food supplies for 10.2 million people in Ethiopia.

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