ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s government has started distributing rations of wheat and cooking oil to people facing hunger in the northern and northeastern parts of the country.
The government is now supplying 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of wheat and a half liter (1.3 gallons) of cooking oil per adult in the areas hit by drought conditions, Mitiku Kassa, secretary of the Ethiopian Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee, told the state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate Wednesday.
More than 8 million people require urgent food assistance and the Ethiopian government says there is enough food aid to feed them through December. The government recently appealed to the international community for $596 million in food assistance.
The food insecurity is fueled by the failure of Ethiopia’s spring rains that resulted in poor crop yields.
The U.N. says the scale of the developing emergency exceeds resources available so far.
“The El Nino global climactic event has wreaked havoc on Ethiopia’s summer rains,” the U.N.’s humanitarian office in Ethiopia said Tuesday. “This comes on the heels of failed spring rains and has driven food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages in affected areas of the country.”
The U.S. Agency for International Development, which announced funding of nearly $97 million in additional food assistance to assist vulnerable people, said in a statement Tuesday that as El Nino progresses into 2016, Ethiopia is likely to experience both prolonged drought and intense flooding that will further worsen food security.
Sisay Gebrselassie, a resident of Wukro town in Northern Ethiopia who recently moved to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, said he believed one in five families in his hometown lost their crops. “They have now left their farmlands for their cattle to scavenge whatever they can get from it,” he said, adding that many farmers are selling their cattle before they die.
ELIAS MESERET, Associated Press
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