German NGO warns of famine risk in Ethiopia


The executive director of German NGO, Menschen für Menschen (People for People), warns that Ethiopia risks enduring another famine in the near future.

Peter Renner on Wednesday expressed concern that Ethiopia’s food shortages are being overshadowed by the more extreme cases of Somalia, South Sudan and northern Kenya. He fears the country could miss out on the aid it needs to prevent 5.7 million Ethiopians dying from a lack of food.


‘Let’s not forget the situation in Ethiopia’

Renner insists he doesn’t want to play down the seriousness of food shortages in other countries at this time but urged people not to forget the long-term struggle of millions of Ethiopians.

“Of course there’s a catastrophe in Somalia, but let’s not forget the situation in Ethiopia,” Renner said at a press conference in Berline on Wednesday. “It’s not like everything is fine there while there’s a major drought 500 kilometres away. A climate catastrophe doesn’t stop at national borders.”

Menschen für Menschen is an NGO that focuses specifically on Ethiopia. The country was lucky enough to receive the normal amount of rainfall throughout 2016 – unlike some of its close neighbours – but Renner says millions are still struggling to recover from a catastrophic dry spell two years ago.


No guarantees for 2017

Despite the El Niño weather phenomenon causing major disruptions worldwide in 2016, Ethiopia was one country that fared comparatively well, However, this guarantees nothing for 2017 as weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable.

“We’ve observed in the past two or two-and-a-half years that we can no longer predict when the short and long rainy seasons will start, how long they’ll last or the amount of rain they’ll bring,” Renner says.

Ethiopia is still trying to overcome the impact from 2015’s dry spell and Renner says the country could recover by autumn this year if the rainy season yields a normal amount of rainfall. Otherwise, millions will need immediate assistance to avoid a catastrophic food shortage and the international community could have several other famines in East Africa alone to think about.


Featured image: By Oxfam East Africa –, CC BY 2.0,

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.