Ethiopia and the United Nations have launched a joint appeal for nearly $12 million to combat the drought and food shortages currently afflicting the country, where severe levels of malnutrition are already emerging.
According to an update by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the failure of rains in key areas has caused a jump in the number of people requiring food assistance for the rest of this year. In addition to the 3.6 million people which the UN initially estimated would require aid, another 2.2 million Ethiopians now need outside help.
Food aid will be essential, but assistance in the areas of health, water supply and agriculture and livestock are also necessary, OCHA says.
"High levels of moderate and severe acute malnutrition are now being reported," the update notes, predicting that the nutritional situation "will continue to decline in the absence of appropriate and immediate interventions."
In response, the Government and the UN are seeking $11.9 million worth of relief assistance in such areas as agriculture, shelter, health, water and sanitation. The funds would be disbursed through UN agencies, the Ethiopian Government and a variety of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).