US Pledges $97m to Fight Ethiopia’s Worst Drought in 50 Years
The US has pledged almost $100 million in food aid to help battle the effects of Ethiopia’s worst drought in 50 years.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) recently said Ethiopia needs $500 million to fight the nation’s food crisis and the US funds are a vital step towards hitting that target before the situation becomes unmanagable.
10m people in need of food
It’s estimated that more than 10 million people are already in need of food aid, while 400,000 children are expected to suffer severe malnutrition this year. A lack of rainfall, caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, has left Ethipoia in a siutation worse than the 1984 crisis, according to charities.
The UN has issued an international appeal for $1.4 billion in emergency funding for Ethiopia, of which leass than half has been donated.
Time running out
The WFP has said $500 million in food aid needs to be raised by the end of February, highlighting the urgency of Ethipia’s troubles. USAID administrator Gayle Smith also expressed her concerns at a recent African Union summit in the country.
“The funding for this is not where it needs to be and we are up against very tight timelines,” she said. “This is the worst El Niño in history and it has affected the African continent in particular, most dramatically in Ethiopia where 11 million people have been affected.”
The USAID administrator said the US will appeal once again to the international community for further donations, as time runs out to prevent what could be the worst food crisis in Ehtiopia’s history.
“2011 Horn of Africa famine Oxfam 01” by Oxfam East Africa – http://www.flickr.com/photos/oxfameastafrica/5758386784/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.