As child malnutrition mounts, UN agencies issue call to action
Story | 12 January 2023
Ethiopia is currently facing two emergency situations, which exacerbate levels of food insecurity in the country.
Nearly two years into the conflict, more people than ever need urgent food assistance across northern Ethiopia.
13.6 million people across the Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions are in need of food assistance as a direct result of the conflict: 5.4 million people in Tigray, over 7 million in Amhara and 1.2 million in Afar.
Despite the immense operational challenges, WFP had distributed more than 12 million food baskets to 4.8 million people across all three regions as of mid-October.
The humanitarian truce declared by the Government in March allowed WFP and partners to reach almost 5 million people over 5 months in Tigray. However, but since the resumption of the conflict at the end of August, no humanitarian supplies have entered the region. WFP’s teams are supporting those most in need across Afar, Amhara and Tigray - but fuel, funding and the free movement of supplies across the lines of control are urgently needed.
Due to a lack of funding and supply shortages, WFP was only able to reach 10 percent of mothers and children across northern Ethiopia in need of nutrition support in August.
US$238 million is urgently needed to rapidly scale up WFP’s operations in northern Ethiopia.
Meanwhile, the country is experiencing the driest conditions recorded since 1981, with severe drought leaving an estimated 9.9 million people across the country facing hunger and 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
The shortages of water and pasture are devastating livelihoods, forcing families from their homes across the Somali, Oromia, Sidama, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ regions in the south and southeast.
With the October to December 2022 rains projected to fail, food insecurity will rise in the months ahead.
A total 2.2 million children in Ethiopia are acutely malnourished due to the impact of drought, at least 3.5 million livestock have already perished and 8.2 million people do not have access to enough clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
WFP has already supported over 3.3 million people with a combination of emergency relief food and anticipatory actions to save lives in the short-term and build resilience in the long-term.
However, to deliver its full drought response to 3.5 million people, WFP requires US$88 million over the next six months.
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