Urgent action can stop El Niño becoming a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia

by Plan International | planglobal | Plan International
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 11:33 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

(ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA) – URGENT international support can prevent the intensifying El Niño-induced drought in Ethiopia from turning into a humanitarian crisis, says child rights organisation Plan International.

As the African Union Summit continues in Addis Ababa this week involving participation from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Plan International is calling for immediate support for Ethiopia where over 10 million people are in need of emergency food assistance.

Ethiopia is experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades and the size of population needing humanitarian assistance is rising. Children and women make up for more than 60 per cent of the population affected. It is estimated that 400,000 malnourished children will need therapeutic assistance this year if they don’t receive food soon.

The Ethiopian Government has so far provided strong leadership to the overall drought response, while a number of initiatives have been taken to mitigate the impact of the drought. However, greater international support is vital.

According to Manoj Kumar, Country Director of Plan International Ethiopia:

“El Niño is destroying people’s livelihoods and challenging their survival. Children, particularly, are at risk due to a lack of food and water, and possibilities of disease outbreaks.

“Affected communities are increasingly finding it unable to cope with the worsening situation and need immediate support. If the international community pulls together, a humanitarian emergency of vast proportions can be averted.”

Plan International Ethiopia is working with the government and reaching out to some of the worst affected population. So far, the organisation has supported nearly 50,000 children and pregnant and nursing women to ensure they have access to food in Amhara Region, Oromia Region and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia.

The organisation is also pre-prepositioning and distributing food, including flour and oil. Parents and pregnant and nursing women are taking part in health education classes, while health workers are being provided with support and training to help them cope with the increase in children with severe malnutrition.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Plan International Headquarters (London): Angela Singh, Global Press Officer Email: angela.singh@plan-international.org Mobile: +44 (0) 7773 636 180

Plan International – East and Southern Africa Mercy Kabangi, Regional Communications and Media Manager Email: Mercy.Kabangi@plan-international.org
Mobile:  +254 (0) 721247080