Aid groups and the Ethiopian government are appealing for an urgent humanitarian aid as a new drought induced by a negative Indian Ocean Dipole left 5.6 million people in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country in need of food assistance. The appeal came as head of the U.N’s humanitarian body, Stephen O’Brien, visited the Warder District of Ethiopia’s Somali region on Saturday which is one of the hard- hit remote areas.
“These people are really struggling to survive,” O’Brien said during a visit to an internally displaced people’s camp at Garlogube, just outside of Warder town. “We have a very serious situation which we are seeking to address but yet it will be completely wrong to start dramatizing by saying this may degenerate into famine.”
A need assessment conducted by the Ethiopian government and aid groups has indicated that 5.6 million people are currently in urgent need of assistance. The government is now appealing for $948 million from the international community. But head of the country’s disaster management body said they are not getting the aid they were expecting that forced the government to front the humanitarian effort with little outside support.
“So far the Ethiopian government has allocated more than $47 million for this new drought,” said Mitiku Kassa, head of the Ethiopian disaster prevention chief. “We need a strong support from the international community to deal with this back- to- back rain failure. The support we got so far is small compared to the need.