News / Africa

    Ethiopia Says 2.8 Million People Need Emergency Food Aid

    Ethiopian child Bizunesh Hidana 3-year-old weighing less than 10 pounds (four kilograms) is seen at an emergency feeding center in southern Ethiopia (File Photo).
    Ethiopian child Bizunesh Hidana 3-year-old weighing less than 10 pounds (four kilograms) is seen at an emergency feeding center in southern Ethiopia (File Photo).

    Ethiopia’s government estimates 2.8 million people will need emergency food aid this year, down sharply from a year ago. Nearly 40 percent of the needy are reported in the sparsely populated, but insurgency-wracked Somali region.

    The good news is that the number of Ethiopians in danger has dropped from 5.2 million a year ago to an estimated 2.8 million this year.

    Ethiopia’s State Minister for Agriculture Mitiku Kassa credits two things for the improvement.  One is good weather, which produced a bumper crop in a country where four out of five people earn their living from agriculture.  The other is food aid, which is believed to have reached 12 million of Ethiopia’s 80 million people last year.

    But there are worrisome signs. Sitting alongside Mitiku at a news conference, U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia Eugene Owusu said the 2.8-million figure tells only part of the story.

    "Two-point-eight-million still require relief food assistance," said Owusu. "And we also know an additional 956,000 require targeted supplementary feeding. An estimated 107,000 children may continue to require treatment for severe acute malnutrition, and 3.3 million people will require screening for more nutrition and Vitamin A supplementation."

    Another 7.8-million Ethiopians receive food or cash under a preventive program known as the Productive Safety Net.

    Owusu said millions of Ethiopians are also at risk of malaria, measles and Acute Watery Diarrhea, which in other places in known as cholera. And he said the onset of a drought in some regions, which forced officials to revise their estimates upward in recent months, is likely to continue.

    "Deteriorating food security conditions recorded in the December assessment will only deepen if the drought prevails through the first half of the year, as the latest forecast of the National Meteorological Agency indicates it is likely to do," he added.

    The government report indicates almost 40 percent of those nutritionally at risk are in the Somali region, home to less than six percent of the country’s population. Ethiopian troops are engaged in a counter-insurgency operation there against indigenous rebels of the Ogaden National Liberation Force.

    The group, in e-mail messages, has accused the government of ethnic cleansing and blocking food aid deliveries to rebel-held areas.  The government strongly denies the claims and says the rebel movement is dying, but restricts access to donor groups trying to monitor aid distribution.

    State Minister Mitiku says the area of restricted movement includes only a few districts, known as woredas.

    "Currently there are only nine woredas that need clearance from the respective authorities to move in these zones," said Mitiku. "The rest, 43 out of 52 are free for movements by the U.N. agencies [and] the NGO agencies who are working in the Somali region."

    But aid community representatives are pushing for greater access to the insurgency zone.  U.N. aid coordinator Owusu says local officials often block access to humanitarian workers even in a usually quiet woreda.

    "There are instances of localized restrictions, depending on the mood of local officials," said Owusu. "The major restrictions are largely in those high security risk woredas, but my point of departure with the minister would be, even in the other woredas, there are instances of localized restrictions that might not be as stringent as what we experience in the nine high security risk woredas."

    The head of the British government’s Department for International Development office in Ethiopia, Howard Taylor,  says aid agencies are often frustrated in attempts to ensure food is reaching the intended recipients.

    "It gets better and it gets worse," said Taylor. "It is not a constant. Sometimes the food is getting through and sometimes we know it is not."

    Taylor and humanitarian coordinator Owusu say while monitoring aid deliveries is easier than in past years, they are pushing for more fruitful discussions with security authorities to find a way donors can be certain people who need food and water in the insurgency zone are able to get it.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora