The government of Sweden said it will contribute 140 million SEK (16 million USD) for food aid to people “affected by the severe and ongoing drought in Ethiopia”, Swedish Embassy in Addis Abeba said.
The contribution is made through a grant to the World Food Program (WFP). “Through this contribution more than 1.5 million people in the Somali region will receive cereals, pulses and vegetable oil, helping to stabilize malnutrition rates, which have risen sharply in recent months since the drought took hold,” a statement from the embassy reads, adding Sweden’s contribution will also complement food distributions in other regions following the Government of Ethiopia’s allocation of 4 billion birr (US$ 192 million) to relief efforts.
At the signing of the agreement on Wednesday the 18th November, Anneka Knutsson, Head of Sweden’s Development Cooperation stressed the importance to act early in these types of crisis. “Paying early will mean saving later.”
The WFP Representative and Country director, John Aylieff on his part stated that, Sweden was among the very first to step forward and respond to the current crisis. “Families across the Somali region, whose lives have been turned upside down by what is said to be the worst El Niño event in recorded history, will feed themselves and their children for the next month thanks to the generosity of Sweden”.
Ethiopia is facing the worst drought in decades that left 8.5 million of its citizens in need of emergency food assistance. Several estimates say the number may double to 15 million in the coming few months.
Photo Caption: Anneka Knutsson, Head of Sweden’s Development Cooperation and John Aylieff, WFP Representative and Country director during the sigining ceremony
Photo: Embassy of Sweden