On March 7, 2016, the United Nation put on record:
“Delayed and incomplete food assistance, as well as limited access to water and sanitation services in drought-affected areas are increasing the risk of communicable diseases.”
- The United States Aid for International Development (USAID), Ethiopia’s largest relief aid provider observes:
“Ethiopia remains one of the world’s least developed countries, ranked 173 out of 187 in the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index, with average per capita incomes less than half the current sub-Saharan average…Household food insecurity, hunger and undernutrition remain critical issues; the poor nutritional status of women and children has been a consistent problem in Ethiopia. Undernutrition is an underlying cause of 53 percent of infant and child deaths. Rates of stunting and underweight have decreased over the past decade but remain high with 44 percent of children under five stunted and 29 percent underweight. Lack of dietary diversity and micronutrient-dense food consumption, and problematic child feeding practices contribute to the high rates of child undernutrition. Only half of infants are exclusively breastfed and introduced complementary foods at the appropriate time, and only 4 percent of young children are receiving a minimal acceptable diet.6 One quarter of women of reproductive age are undernourished, leaving their children predisposed to low birth weight, short stature, lower resistance to infections, and higher risk of disease and death.
Children in rural areas are more likely to be stunted (46 percent) than those in urban areas (36 percent), and great regional variations persist, with Amhara (52 percent), Tigray (51 percent), Affar (50 percent), and Benishangul-Gumuz (49 percent) more severely affected, while Addis Ababa (22 percent) and Gambela (27 percent) have the lowest rates.”
- In May 2015, and based on long-term study, the FAO had reported that 32 percent of Ethiopians are undernourished, even under normal circumstances, much less as cruel time as now when greater part of the country is being deprived of by EL Niño!
However, it is in the face of this that the regime dishonestly tells the whole world it is in control of the situation.
For instance, when the needs in the country are enormous and at the same time, because of public pressure, the TPLF regime is dismissing hundreds of officials throughout the system for stealing food aid and food aid is not reaching those in need in many parts of the country, on February 29/2016 Mitiku Kassa of NDRMC said Ethiopia has become successful in tackling the impact of the drought without a single person left to starve (መንግሥት የችግሩን ሁኔታና አዝማሚያ በመተንተን፣ በምግብና ምግብ ነክ ባልሆኑ አቅርቦት ላይ አስፈላጊውን ዝግጅት በማድርግ በወቅቱ እርዳታ ለሚያስፈልገው የህብረተሰብ ክፍል ምላሽ ማቅረብ መቻሉንም ነው አቶ ምትኩ የገለጹት።), according to Fana. As usual, this is an absolute lie!
As an orchestrated ruling party position, these exact words were repeated, according to The Guardian, by Boru Jilo, deputy administrator for Fantalle district in Oromia region. He said, “Because of the government’s response, there is no single livestock or human who died as a result of the drought,”
The fact of the matter is that people have been starved, although the situation has not loomed into famine. Hungry people are informing journalists that they have not been receiving food and water. Recall that The Guardian on March 3/2016 got it first hand from an aid recipient Ajo Masha who said, “We finished everything we had, and all of our cows are just dying,. Unless there is a miracle, we are simply waiting to die.”
Hungry people are no different from legal prisoners in Ethiopia today. The security forces are fanning each and every drought affected district to prevent people from abandoning their God-forsaken villages in search of food or to beg from the better off!
The TPLF regime says not true. Its evidence is its words, it thinks, must stand against that of hungry Ethiopians and those that are trying to help them, despite numerous obstacles – including for journalists to make it difficult for them to report on the sad man-and-politics-made reality!
Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
by Adam Justice, IBT
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is appealing for urgent aid for the people in Ethiopia, as Africa’s second most populous nation faces its worst drought in 50 years.
The devastating drought sparked by the worst El Niño in records has driven Ethiopia to an alarming state of food insecurity and malnutrition, the agency said. Water and animal feed are scarce in most parts of the country, leading to crop failures and widespread livestock deaths.
Shortage of clean water is also posing a threat to human health, with people drinking water from the same pond as their animals. Malnourished people and animals, some drinking water from murky pond in the north-eastern Afar region of Ethiopia, are seen in a video released by the FAO on 7 March.
“This is dirty water and people are drinking it. So, it’s not only going to affect their lives, but the diseases that goes along with it, because they are drinking water from the same pond where animals defecate, where animals are drinking,” said Patrick Kormawa, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa.
“Our appeal to the international community is to support development organizations like FAO, to be able to provide safe drinking water, to be able to provide water for the animals, to be able to provide water for the crops, so that people will have a decent life. This is a catastrophe,” Kormawa added.
There are extremely high livestock mortality rates due to poor grazing resources, feed shortages and limited water in the Afar Region and this has led to sharp declines in milk and meat production – a vital source of nutrition for these communities.
“I lost 25 goats. We lost most of our cattle,” said cattle herder, Oumer Beri. “We received animal feed and hay. Some of our animals were saved because of this support. But this is not enough and we need more animal feed support to save our remaining animals.”
The El Nino weather phenomenon has caused drought and flooding across Africa, leaving 20m people short of food in the south of the continent and 14m in the east, the United Nations said. The number in need is greatest in Ethiopia. Famine, triggered by war and drought, killed one million people in Ethiopia in 1984. The nation now has one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies but many people are still small-scale farmers and herders dependent on seasonal rains.
The drought is not just a food crisis – above all, it is a livelihood crisis. FAO is urgently appealing for $13m (£9.18m) by the end of March for seed support – both food crop and forage seed – to enable them to provide survival feed for drought and core breeding stock to livestock-dependent households as well as continuing their work to provide safe and separate water resources for animals and people.
Related from IBT:
Ethiopia claims Eritrea behind Oromo protests but activists warn against ‘state propaganda’