Ethiopia: Nearly $68 Million Sought to Aid Drought Victims - UN

The Ethiopian Government and its humanitarian partners have appealed for $67.7 million to assist drought victims in the East African nation, where some 2.2 million people are in need of emergency food aid, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today.

Inadequate rainfall in the latter part of last year has been blamed for drought in the Horn of Africa, which is also expected to lead to reduced crop harvests in Djibouti, Eritrea, northern parts of Kenya and south-central Somalia.

In Ethiopia, in addition to those in need of food aid, around 947,000 vulnerable people will continue to receive assistance under the country's Productive Safety Nets Programme. Set up by the Government in 2005, the relief-to-development project aims to end dependency on food aid.

Earlier this month, OCHA said that food security in the country continues to be a concern, despite rainfall in some areas, adding that Ethiopians are resorting to borrowing food and slaughtering calves.

A total of almost 172,000 metric tons of food aid is required for those in need. In addition, special attention will be given to health and nutrition, water and sanitation, and agriculture to help address the adverse impact of the drought.

Speaking in Addis Ababa at the launch of the Joint Government and Humanitarian Partners' 2008 Humanitarian Requirement Plan, the head of OCHA in Ethiopia expressed his concern at the humanitarian situation in the country, and stressed the need for the aid community to work together to alleviate the plight of the suffering.

"The continued collaboration by all humanitarian actors in Ethiopia for the benefit of the most vulnerable in the country is highly appreciated, and we look forward to strengthening this collaboration," stated Vincent Lelei.

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