News / Africa

Drought Victims In Ethiopia In Urgent Need Of Aid

Recently arrived refugees from Somalia dig a grave for 18-month-old Sahro Mohamed, who died of acute severe malnutrition and dehydration, at the Kobe refugee camp, near the Ethiopia-Somalia border, August 12, 2011
Recently arrived refugees from Somalia dig a grave for 18-month-old Sahro Mohamed, who died of acute severe malnutrition and dehydration, at the Kobe refugee camp, near the Ethiopia-Somalia border, August 12, 2011

A senior official of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warns many people in drought-stricken Ethiopia are at risk of dying if urgent action is not taken to assist them.  The official, who has just returned from Ethiopia, says millions of drought affected people are being overlooked because of the focus on famine-stricken Somali refugees who have fled to Ethiopia in search of food. 

Millions affected by the drought

The United Nations estimates more than 12 million people in the Horn of Africa are affected by drought.  More than one-third of them are in Ethiopia.  And, yet a senior official of the International Red Cross Federation says not enough attention is being paid to their plight.

Red Cross Operations Coordinator Christine South says the international community is focusing most strongly on the Somali refugees.  She says this is quite understandable as Somalia is in the grips of a famine and its people are in desperate need of food and other assistance. 

“But, at the same time, the host or indigenous communities are, particularly in some of these dry areas in the southeast, are pretty well on the edge…If you are in a camp, there is a structure in place to provide support," South states. "I think these families live in very remote rural communities.  Some of them are nomadic, so they are on the move.  They are much harder to reach and to identify, and to assess.  So, they are harder to work with in a sense.  But, that does not mean that their needs are not grave and that they do not need to be met.”

Running out of options

Ethiopia has been without significant rain for three seasons in a row and, South says, the people are pessimistic that the next rains due in October will be good.  This, she says, means people not only have to be able to survive the present crisis, they also must plan ahead for the coming months.  

Unfortunately, she says, people are running out of options. “So, many of their options are just closed down to them.  And, I think it is that lack of anywhere else to go, which means that their need for support is urgent," South said. "And, we want to do it before we start seeing human deaths rather than wait until we have a more dire situation before reacting.”

The International Red Cross Federation estimates about two million of the 4.5 million drought-affected Ethiopians are in need of food.  The agency has launched a $10 million preliminary appeal to assist 165,000 people.  It only has received 29 percent of that amount.

Nevertheless, given the needs, the Red Cross says it plans to scale up its operations and will issue a revised appeal to meet the increased needs of a larger number of drought victims.

Priority - getting food to people

Christine South says getting food to hungry people is the priority.  This, she says, can be done by food distributions or, in many cases, by providing cash vouchers so people can buy food in the markets.  

Other priorities include water and sanitation and health care.  Once the immediate survival needs are met, she says the Red Cross will focus on longer-term solutions.  For example, it will help people improve their agriculture and sustain their flock through better water management and irrigation.

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs