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Ethiopia: Over 10 Million Will Need Food Aid in January
(News: 12-09-2015 )

Dr. Kebba Jaiteh, the World Health Organization emergency response coordinator in Ethiopia, raised concerns there was not adequate resources to respond to the evolving situation.

The El Nino effect – caused by warming sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean – has been blamed for the failure of this year’s rains across a large portion of Ethiopia, triggering what the United Nations calls a “slow onset” emergency.

The Ethiopian government has already committed an unprecedented $192 million to help combat the crisis as part of a huge national effort mobilized to mitigate the impact of the relentless drought, but more help is urgently needed from donors and the worldwide community to support the government to stop the situation from deteriorating further.

Drawing on a joint-agency report from 2012, A Dangerous Delay, Graham reiterates that, in the long term, the answers lie within developing countries themselves, including supporting local food production and markets, protecting the poorest and most vulnerable, making food affordable, and ensuring a strong national response to impending crises. In addition, some 700, 000 expecting and recent mothers are at risk for severe malnutrition.

Dr. Michelle Gayer, interim director of the WHO’s emergency risk management & humanitarian response department, noted that the food security emergency comes “against a back drop of multiple ongoing epidemics in the country” such as a measles outbreak. However, singifncanct unding gaps existed in areas such as measles vaccination of children between five and fourteen.

In his 18 years working in Ethiopia, “this is the worst drought I’ve seen”, Graham told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview. The WHO is anticipating an increase in infectious, water- and vector-borne diseases, acute watery diarrhoea and complications arising from malnutrition.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), said in Geneva on Monday that Ethiopia was facing serious health challenges due to El Nino.