By Addis Standard Staff
Addis Abeba, December 6, 2021- The United Nations World Food Programme said in a statement that its ability to meet the critical food and nutrition needs of millions of people in Ethiopia due to shortage of funding. WFP said it has a funding gap of US$579 million to deliver life-saving food assistance and livelihood support activities to 12 million people in Ethiopia including US$316 million that is urgently needed to deliver emergency food and nutrition assistance to 3.7 million people in northern Ethiopia over the next six months.
According to the statement, an estimated 13.6 million people are food insecure due to effects of conflict, drought, flooding, desert locust invasions, market disruptions and high food prices, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Steven Were Omamo, WFP representative and country director added, “In addition to the severe challenges facing conflict-impacted populations in many regions, we are deeply concerned about climate-related vulnerability and food insecurity in dry lowland areas.” Dr. Omamo cautioned against the possibility of millions falling into severe hunger and hardship by early next year if WFP doesn’t receive commitments of new funding in the coming weeks to mobilise the food that is available in the country.
“In northern Ethiopia, the food security situation in all three regions of Afar, Amhara and Tigray is already critical and will worsen if conflict-induced interruptions to humanitarian aid continue,” the WFP said, adding, “The impacts of ongoing conflict – including continued disruption to trade flows and minimal economic activity – will come on top of already significant losses to food and income.”
The WFP also spoke of rising needs which the level of funding is failing to keep up with. This according to the statement forced ration cuts for some 710,000 refugees across the country and 2.4 million food insecure people in the Somali region. “Refugees are now receiving 60 percent of the required kilocalories per person/day while food insecure families in the Somali region are receiving 10 percent less cereal per person, per month.”
The statement detailed that the Government of Ethiopia, WFP, and other partners are struggling to alleviate the country’s hunger crisis amid intensifying drought causing significant livestock losses, wiping out fragile livelihoods, and worsening food insecurity through mid-2022 in Ethiopia’s southern and south eastern pastoral areas who are facing a third consecutive below-average rainfall season. AS