The European Union (EU) has announced aid of a little more than 22 million Euro for Ethiopia to address the immediate needs of people affected by the worsening humanitarian situation.
The current drought, considered to be one of the most extreme in 50 years following two failed rainy seasons, is caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon.
A quarter of the population is affected and more than 10 million people are in need of emergency assistance while eight million people receive food aid from the safety net programme.
This new support aims to combine a humanitarian response and early recovery assistance with initiatives that address the root causes of fragility and vulnerability, according to the EU.
“With over 10 million people currently struggling to find food the humanitarian situation is very worrying. The EU is taking action; our new support will allow us to step up our efforts to help the most vulnerable in Ethiopia,” EU commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management Christos Stylianides said.
The EU has been providing both emergency humanitarian funding and long-term development support to Ethiopia to help the country cope with these various problems.
It has provided more than 200 million Euros in humanitarian aid in the past five years.
These funds have been used to assist three million of the most vulnerable people, including those affected by the drought in Southern and Eastern Ethiopia, as well as refugees.
According to the EU, the support is coherent with its resilience approach that combines a humanitarian response with initiatives that addresses the root causes of fragility and vulnerability.
The Ethiopian government has been working on a response to support the worst drought-affected areas through many years of intensive resilience building, food security programmes, and a safety net programme which helps to keep control of the situation.
However, it has now called on the international community to work together and manage this crisis, as humanitarian aid needs to be stepped up urgently as the crisis is approaching its peak.
“Our support aims at combining short-term lifesaving with strengthening Ethiopia’s resilience by addressing the root causes of fragility and vulnerability.
“We can build on the past successes of Ethiopia which has already stepped up its efforts to tackle the drought crisis”, European commissioner for international co-operation and development Neven Mimica said.
The new EU funding comes on top of a first El Nino emergency package announced in December last year that consisted of 79 million Euros for the Greater Horn of Africa region and from which nearly 43 million Euros will benefit Ethiopia.
According the revised humanitarian requirement document, out of the current number of people severely affected by the drought, an estimated 435,000 children are in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition by the end of 2016.
This has significantly devastated livelihoods and greatly compromised the health and well-being of children and women through malnutrition and hygiene-related diseases across Ethiopia, with six regions hit particularly hard.