Time is running out for millions living in drought-stricken Ethiopia

Time is running out for millions living in drought-stricken Ethiopia

18 April 2016

On a visit to Ethiopia, where over 10 million people are urgently in need of food aid, Concern Worldwide CEO, Dominic MacSorley, has called on the major donors and especially the nations of Europe to move quickly to back the emergency response efforts of the Ethiopian government.

The African country is suffering its worst drought in 50 years, following a series of consecutive failed rains, exacerbated by the El Niño phenomenon.

Children walk over agricultural land in Tselmti woreda. Nothing is growing in the current drought. Credit: David Hunn/Concern Worldwide.

Speaking from the capital Addis Ababa, Dominic MacSorley said that there was an urgent need for action.

If we wait to see the images that haunted us thirty years ago before we intervene, we will have failed the people of Ethiopia. This is a country which has worked hard to develop its economy and strengthen how it copes with chronic climate challenges. The government is leading and driving this response - but the scale of this crisis is beyond the abilities of any one nation.

This is the world’s third biggest emergency appeal and yet to date less than half of the estimated $1.4 billion needed has been committed. The World Food Programme alone has said that it requires an additional $500 million to continue emergency food supplies beyond April. Dominic MacSorley continued:

Ethiopia may to an extent be a victim donor of fatigue, because of the number of ongoing crises around the world, but we cannot victimise the poorest and most vulnerable people who desperately need our help. No-one in Ethiopia should die because of a lack of funding – it’s as simple as that.

Concern has been working in Ethiopia for forty years and over the past twelve months has massively scaled up its presence. Life-saving interventions include tackling severe acute malnutrition in children under five, with feeding programmes in 29 of the worst affected districts. It is also trucking water to people in areas where wells and springs have dried up completely, and providing seed to agricultural households forced to eat their seeds to survive. Dominic MacSorley explained:

Here is a country that has generously provided shelter to over 750,000 refugees from other countries – more than any other country in Africa. Now they need our help. We have an extraordinary opportunity here to apply the hard earned lesson that prevention is always better than cure – ethically, morally and financially. This is a chance to change the course of history.

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Children walk over agricultural land in Tselmti woreda. Nothing is growing in the current drought. Credit: David Hunn/Concern Worldwide.

Time is running out for millions living in drought-stricken Ethiopia

“Act now to prevent further suffering,” Concern CEO makes urgent appeal to international community to support people living in the crisis-hit country.
  • Time is running out for millions living in drought release