Millions in Ethiopia facing worst drought for decades: UN

Millions in Ethiopia facing worst drought for decades: UN

ADDIS ABABA - Agence France-Presse
Millions in Ethiopia facing worst drought for decades: UN

AFP Photo

Ethiopia is struggling with its worst drought for 30 years, with millions in dire need of life-saving aid, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Jan. 31.

At least 10.2 million people need food aid in Ethiopia, a figure the U.N. has warned could double within months, casting a fifth of the population into hunger.

Floods and failed rains caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon have sparked a dramatic rise in the number of people going hungry in large parts of Africa, with Ethiopia of special concern.

“People of the country are facing the worst drought in 30 years... the scale of emergency is too much for any single government,” Ban told reporters in the Ethiopian capital.

“Immediate support will save lives and also support the impressive development that Ethiopia has made during the last decade.” 

Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen warned his country had less than half of the $1.4 billion (1.3 billion euros) needed.

“Last year Ethiopia was hit by one of the strongest El Nino events on record... the scale and severity of humanitarian needs have significantly increased,” he said.

Food insecurity is a sensitive issue in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation which enjoys near-double-digit economic growth, but which has struggled to change its image following famine in 1984-85 after extreme drought.

“Those who remember Ethiopia in the 1980s may feel a disturbing sense of deja vu,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report earlier this month.