Photo credit: UN NEWS CENTRE
In February 2016, villagers gather at the Ula Arba water point, in Ziway Dugda Woreda, Arsi zone Oromia region, Ethiopia. Photo: OCHA/Charlotte Cans
As new drought hits Ethiopia, UN urges support for Government’s ‘remarkable’ efforts
Commending the Ethiopian Government and humanitarian partners on the response to last year’s El Niño drought that left 10.2 million people needing food assistance, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien today said the international community must show “total solidarity” with country as it faces a new drought.
“This High-Level event must express our total solidarity with the Ethiopian people and the Ethiopian Government. And let’s be clear: that solidarity is not a matter of generosity. It is a matter of justice and of self-interest,” the Secretary-General told those gathered for the event, held earlier today in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on the margins of the 28th Summit of the African Union.
It is a matter of justice in relation to the enormous generosity of the Ethiopian people themselves, he said, recalling that during his 10 years as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, he had witnessed the way Ethiopia became not only the largest African refugee-hosting country but the country with the most determined policy of keeping all its borders open, even in the most difficult security situations; “an example that, I would say, needs to be thought about in a world where unfortunately, so many borders are being closed.”
Moreover, he said, the current crisis has not caught the Government and the people of Ethiopia unprepared, even if the magnitude of the crisis clearly is above the capacity of the Horn of Africa country to resolve. “Ethiopia has persistently applied a policy of building resilience in relation to the natural disasters that unfortunately with climate change have come to be more and more frequent and intense,” explained Mr. Guterres.
Showing solidarity with Ethiopia is a matter of self-interest “because the link between humanitarian and development with peace and security is growing everywhere, and to invest in building resilience of populations and to invest in the best humanitarian needs in situations of stress like the one we are facing is also to contribute to strengthen peace and security,” said Mr. Guterres, noting that a number of countries around Ethiopia are in the midst of deep crises – Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea.
In Ethiopia and beyond, development and peace and security must be tackled jointly – UN chief
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MY COMMENT (Willem Van Cotthem, University of Ghent, Belgium)
Hopefully, these people have already learned how to set up a kitchen garden with container gardening. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/221343224576801/