News / Africa

    Ethiopia Reduces Food Rations as Prices Soar

    Unusually poor rains in the Horn of Africa, compounded by a shortage of reserve food supplies, have forced Ethiopia to reduce the size of emergency rations to needy citizens. The sudden shortage of emergency supplies comes as over-the-counter food prices are soaring.

    Ethiopia’s emergency relief agency and international aid groups were caught off guard by how quickly conditions deteriorated as rains failed over the past six months.

    As recently as February, Ethiopia’s appeal to humanitarian agencies for food aid covered 2.8 million people, a sharp decline from recent years. But by April, as grazing lands dried up in pastoral areas over a wide swath of Eastern Africa, the appeal was revised to include an additional 400,000 Ethiopians.

    This is on top of a separate supplementary feeding program that covers an additional 8 million people.

    Fresh rains over the past week have helped, but a follow-up assessment now underway is expected to lead to a further increase.

    The latest report from the U.S. government funded FEWSNET, or Famine Early Warning System Network, says food insecurity has reached the “moderate to extreme” stage in some regions. It warns that existing assistance programs will not be able to handle “expected food deficits and high malnutrition.”

    The shortages are forcing Ethiopia to curtail distribution in all but the hardest-hit regions of two of the four items contained in a food basket designed to help families stave off malnutrition. As a third round of distribution begins, disaster relief agency spokesman Akloweg Nigatu says supplies of pulses (dry beans and peas) and high-nutrition Corn-Soya Blend are critically low.

    "Now we [are] just distributing one-third less pulses for the third round, and we [are] not able to provide CSB, Corn-Soya Blend, because we are short of it, sorely depleted. But we are trying to get this limited resource by asking our partners," he said.

    The United States and the U.N. World Food Program are among the main partners, or providers of nutritional assistance. But the WFP relief and refugee section chief in Ethiopia, Giammichele De Maio, says it can take months from the time an appeal is made until the food arrives.

    "It usually takes an average lead-time of four, five months to get the food in the country, and that’s when we are actually able to distribute it to the beneficiaries. The latest request has come in April. There was a previous request in February, indeed several contributions are on their way, but still there are huge shortfalls in the relief pipeline currently," he said.

    USAID director for Ethiopia Thomas Staal says the United States is working urgently on a project to produce Corn-Soya Blend in Ethiopia to meet domestic needs. In the meantime, he says a search is on for stocks of pulses that can be quickly purchased from other regions and moved to the Horn of Africa. "That we have to definitely import and we’re working with other donors to provide funding to WFP to import additional pulse. So we’re working with those donors, WFP and the government to see if we can’t move food around in the short term while in the longer term getting additional commodities," he said.

    Agencies working in southern and southeastern Ethiopia say the drought has claimed the lives of countless thousands of livestock on which the region’s economy depends.

    Aid workers say the effects of the drought have been made worse by steep increases in food costs worldwide. Ethiopia’s Central Statistics Agency this week reported a nearly 30 percent increase in the inflation rate in April from the previous year, driven mostly by a 32 percent jump in food prices.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora