UN calls for assistance to Ethiopia's two million drought victims

09:20, April 29, 2011      

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UN officials on Thursday called for assistance to be stepped up to an estimated 2 million people in Ethiopia who have been impacted by the drought.

In an update on Thursday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that water is being transported by trucks to residents in drought-hit areas of the southern and southeastern lowlands of the east African country.

Emergency conditions are likely to persist until the next rainy season arrives in October.

UN aid agencies, which are working with national authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are also handing out food to households in need in addition to providing health care, veterinary services and livestock feed.

UN agencies have said that the areas risk increased threats to disease outbreaks as the Horn of African country has been facing a drought in recent years.

According to OCHA's latest humanitarian bulletin on Ethiopia, a multi-agency national needs assessment will start in next month, approximately one month earlier than originally scheduled.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government has requested an additional 75 million U.S. dollars for humanitarian assistance this month and in May.

UN agencies and their partners have called for additional resources to meet pressing needs, while also expanding operations in the following months in order to prevent gaps in aid delivery.

OCHA also has noted that the recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has led to a decline in the demand for livestock exports from Ethiopia, which, in turn, has reduced the incomes of the affected communities.

As a result, high global food and fuel price rises have raised the cost of buying and importing essential commodities, which include food, said OCHA.

Source: Xinhua
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