Almost 13 million people across the Horn of Africa need aid due to drought

By Katy Migiro

Drought in Turkana
Turkana women carry canisters to get water from a borehole near Baragoy, Kenya, February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

NAIROBI, March 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Millions of drought-stricken Ethiopians needing food, water and emergency medical care are not receiving it due to funding shortages, the United Nations said, warning the crisis will worsen if spring rains fail as predicted.

Some 5.6 million people need food aid in the Horn of Africa nation, which has been hit by a series of back-to-back droughts.

“The needs relating to the developing emergency exceed resources available to date,” the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Monday.

“Each day without food assistance exponentially increases human suffering, lengthens the recovery period of affected people, puts increasing pressure on humanitarian and development systems, and the interventions become that much more expensive.”

It is three times cheaper to treat children who are moderately, rather than severely, malnourished, it said.

But it takes at least four months to procure, ship and deliver emergency supplies to Ethiopia, it said.

The U.N. appealed for more than $900 million in aid for Ethiopia in January.

Almost 13 million people across the Horn of Africa need aid due to drought, including 2.7 million in Kenya, 2.9 million people in Somalia and 1.6 million people in Uganda, OCHA said.

The situation is expected to worsen across the region as the “belg” Spring rains are predicted to fail.

“The expected below normal rainfall will negatively impact belg land preparation and planting, as well as water and pasture availability; with a spiral effect on food and nutritional security of affected communities,” OCHA said.

At least $2.7 million is required each week to provide water via more than 600 trucks to millions of people, mostly livestock herders in southern Ethiopia, but there is only funding for 300-odd trucks, OCHA said.

Humanitarians are already short of cooking oil to distribute to hungry Ethiopians, with pulses and cereals likely to run out in the next few months, OCHA added.

There is also no money to deploy emergency medical teams and health supplies to southern areas not covered by health facilities, it said.

Eastern and southern Africa were hard hit in 2016 by drought exacerbated by El Nino – a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean – that wilted crops, slowed economic growth and drove food prices higher.

2 thoughts on “Drought emergency spirals in Ethiopia amid major aid shortages

  1. Interview OMN gidduu kana godhu irratti namichi kameraa oromoo irraa jibba qabamoo soraan fulduratti post ta’e kan namaa hin fakkatu, moo oromoon hunduu akkas fokkisaa? Dhugaa namaa jibbisiisaa.

  2. Crop are all in areas that are experiencing drought, adding that a lot of that area is actually in the “severe drought” category.

    The farmers who suffer crop losses from this drought, or any other covered peril, can rest assured that crop insurance indemnities will be paid timely national Crop Insurance Services. The drought, which targeted the southern plains last year, appears to have the Midwest in its sights.

    Nationally, nearly 80 percent of the contiguous Ethiopia is experiencing some level of drought, with nearly 40 percent of that considered severe to exceptional.

    Producers who think they have a loss on an insured crop to take the following steps:

    1. Notify their crop insurance agent within 72 hours of the initial discovery of damage;

    2. Continue to care for the crop and protect it against further damage if possible and,

    3. Obtain consent from the insurance company prior to destroying any of the insured crop.

    “There are other requirements that insureds need to follow that can be found in their specific policy,” said Zacharias. “But these three are key for right now.” Zacharias assured farmers and ranchers that while it is far too early to predict loss estimates, the insurance industry is ready for any claims that are filed.

    2016 was a busy year for the insurance industry when we paid out more than $10.8 billion in indemnities,The insurance companies handled those losses quickly and accurately and they will do the same this year.

    Crop insurance, the most popular risk management tool for farmers, is the key to their financial stability, enabling them to supply food and fiber to our country despite severe weather and other challenges that impact their business. Congress is currently writing the 2012 Farm Bill and farmers and ranchers from each corner of the country and nearly every major commodity group testified about what that Farm Bill needed to do. There was one main theme that threaded through their testimony: “Do no harm to crop insurance.

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