10 Million Face Food Crisis in Ethiopia as Drought Worsens
Ethiopia’s government has revealed more than ten million people are facing a food crisis in the country as drought conditions worsen.
It’s being called Ethiopia’s worst drought in 50 years as the weather phenomenon El Niño continues to have a devastating impact on East Africa. The latest figures of 10.1 million people facing a food crisis now means a tenth of Ethiopia’s population could be left without food.
A growing problem
The number of people facing food crisis in Ethiopia is rapidly rising. In November, Save the Children said 8.2 million people in the country were at risk due to worsening drought conditions. Nearly two million more have now been added to this figure by the Ethiopian government and Save the Children says more than half of this 10 million are children.
This figure could continue to rise too, as worsening conditions threaten to end the food supply of millions who are already surviving on next to nothing. The government has reportedly committed a record $192 million to help deal with the crisis. Charities are also urging the international community to donate funds and dedicate more resources to combatting climate change.
Aid arrives too late
Save the Children has said it’s experiencing the slowest response to this crisis that it’s seen in the country for the last 18 years. With 80 percent of the nation’s population working in the agricultural sector, it remains susceptible to food crises when the environment poses challenges.
This year, El Niño has prevented two key rainfalls the country relies on for crop harvests, which has had a devastating effect on the nation’s food supply. Food aid will be essential for minimising the impact of drought on parts of the population, but time is already running out and aid has a habit of coming too late.
“People don’t respond until they see a starving child,” said Courtenay Cabot Venton, international development economist, to the press. “It’s very hard to go and take a picture of a field of crops that’s dying and compel people to give money.” By the time those pictures start circulating, though, it will be too late for millions in drought-stricken Ethiopia.
“A young man in drought conditions in Ethiopia (5933857075)” by USAID Africa Bureau – A young man in drought conditions in Ethiopia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.