The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it is providing nearly $97 million in additional food assistance to assist vulnerable populations in Ethiopia, including those severely
affected by the impacts of the recent drought.
The contribution provided by USAID’s Office of Food for Peace includes more than 154,000 tons of emergency food assistance to address food needs of approximately 3.5 million Ethiopians as well as refugees from Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea who have fled conflict in their own countries.
USAID is contributing $58 million to its partner Catholic Relief Services for 105,700 tons of U.S. food; providing $19 million to the UN World Food Program (WFP) for its drought relief operation, and $20 million for its refugee assistance. The United States has also pre-positioned relief commodities in Ethiopia to meet anticipated increased needs from El Niño.
The El Niño has significantly impacted weather patterns in Ethiopia this year, limiting agricultural production, straining livelihoods, and exacerbating food insecurity among poor and vulnerable households. The projected level of need for emergency aid in Ethiopia has grown from 2.9 million people in early 2015 to 4.5 million people in August to 8.2 million people as of October. As El Niño progresses into 2016, Ethiopia is likely to experience both prolonged drought and intense
flooding that will further deteriorate food security. According to the United Nations the up to 15 million people will be in need of food aid by the beginning of 2016.
“Improved early warning, the establishment of the Productive Safety Net Program, as well as serious engagement by the Government of Ethiopia to analyze and respond to the ongoing El Niño crisis means that we are not likely to see,” said Dina Esposito, Director of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace.
According to Dina Esposito, Director of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace the kind of catastrophic famine conditions of earlier decades is unlikely to be witnessed this time. However, “it is not cause for complacency. Given that we are witnessing the driest conditions ever recorded in parts of Ethiopia, we know the magnitude of the need will require far more robust support globally than what has currently been pledged. With these early contributions we aim to demonstrate the United States’ deep concern over rapidly expanding relief requirements and send a signal to other donors to respond generously as
USAID with other donors have supported the Government of Ethiopia’s (GoE) Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) since 2005. And since summer 2015, USAID has provided nearly $246 million in food and nutrition assistance in Ethiopia.
Photo- NY Times