WFP expands food assistance to Ethiopia in response to government's urgent appeal

Published on 07 March 2008

WFP is expanding operations to reach 4.6 million people in Ethiopia with emergency food assistance, in response to the government’s urgent appeal for food and nutrition assistance to avoid hunger-related deaths in coming months.

WFP is expanding operations to reach 4.6 million people in Ethiopia with emergency food assistance, in response to the government’s urgent appeal for food and nutrition assistance to avoid hunger-related deaths in coming months.

Ethiopia is facing a perfect storm with soaring food prices and a devastating drought

Josette Sheeran, WFP Executive Director

"Ethiopia is facing a perfect storm with soaring food prices and a devastating drought,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. “We hear the government’s plea, support it, and are moving to reach all we can.”

Food shortages

Deputy Prime Minister Addisu Legesse told parliament earlier this week that the government needs an additional $430 million to address food shortages.

WFP is now providing emergency food assistance to 3.2 million people in Ethiopia. In the coming months, WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian agency, will scale up but at the same time it urgently needs additional contributions to reach all those in need.

Shortfall

WFP has a shortfall of 369,000 metric tons of food valued at US$300 million from July through December and also needs to repay US$31.7 million in internal advances.

WFP also plans to provide food assistance for 2.4 million people living in drought-affected areas under the development-oriented Productive Safety Net Programme.

Supporting the government

WFP will support the government in supplying emergency nutritional support to 750,000 of the most vulnerable, including children, pregnant mothers and HIV-AIDs patients. WFP supports UNICEF's urgent action to provide therapeutic feeding to 75,000 severely malnourished children.

The government of Ethiopia estimates that about one-third of the funds necessary to manage the unfolding crisis have been received.

Innovative safety nets

“The government of Ethiopia has been building innovative safety nets to ensure the most vulnerable are receiving targeted help,” Sheeran said. “But these programmes are now overwhelmed. We aim to help the government scale up quickly.”

Ethiopia is one of five countries in the Greater Horn of Africa hit by the double calamity of soaring prices and extended drought. Countries such as Somalia also suffer from conflict and instability, further exacerbating the urgent crisis.

Somalia – Drought, conflict, hyperinflation, rising food and fuel prices and poor harvests have pushed about 2.6 million people into needing food assistance. WFP is targeting 2.4 million. The number in need is expected to rise to 3.5 million by December.

Kenya -- WFP is feeding 900,000 people in arid areas because of below normal rains in the North and Northwest. Kenya faces a food deficit this year because post-election violence disrupted production.

Uganda -- In Karamoja, the poorest region of the country, WFP has provided food since March for 707,000 people because of drought. Delayed, erratic and limited rains mean up to 90 percent of people have not planted for the current growing season.

Djibouti – During the lean season from June to September, WFP plans to increase the number being targeted with food assistance from 80,000 to 115,000 because of drought or conflict.