http://static.un.org/News/dh/photos/large/2015/October/10-27-2015Drought_Ethiopia.jpg

Contribution will be used to meet the immediate food needs

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Dry earth in the desert plains of the Danakil depression in northern Ethiopia. Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN

Ethiopia: crucial funding helps UN agency avoid cutbacks in food aid to drought-affected people

Thanks to timely contributions from key donors, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it is able to continue food distributions later this month for more than 1.5 million people in the Somali region of Ethiopia, and can scale up nutrition help to more than 700,000 children and nursing mothers in the most drought-affected areas.

The United Nations agency stressed that the scaling up of food and nutrition support is crucial to prevent vulnerable people falling into a deeper crisis. However, even with the new contributions, it only has 7 per cent of the $228 million budget required for food and nutrition interventions until June 2016.

A dramatic increase in the number of people in need of relief assistance, from 2.5 million at the beginning of the year to 8.2 million in October, led to a serious funding gap, and WFP was concerned that it would have to entirely stop distributions for people affected by the drought at the end of November.

Such a situation was avoided it said, thanks to contributions from Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The United States Agency for International Development also confirmed a contribution equivalent to $17 million.

“These donors have shown incredible leadership in their response to the current crisis, and their generous contributions will help people cope with this humanitarian crisis exacerbated by El Nino,” said John Aylieff, WFP Representative and Country Director in Ethiopia, in a press release.

According to the agency, the contribution will be used to meet the immediate food needs of vulnerable people in the early part of 2016, while the cash contributions will allow WFP to extend life-saving food and nutrition assistance until the end of the year.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.