The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has appealed for $49 million to assist families in Ethiopia where drought has left 75,000 children severely malnourished and 4.6 million people in need of immediate humanitarian aid.
After completing a visit to Ethiopia UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. Johnson said today that the situation in the hardest-hit areas of the country is extremely serious.
“Children are now at risk of dying in numbers in several areas if help is not provided urgently. The Government and partners are doing their utmost to help, but needs are not being met with adequate speed. More resources need to be provided.”
Ms. Johnson visited Gurage Zone in Ethiopia and met with families who had been affected by the drought.
“We talked to mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers and all actors in the field,” she said. “This picture was confirmed by all of them and a clear message was conveyed: there is no food. The assistance needs to be taken to scale and it has to happen urgently.”
She added that Government officials were reporting that children were already dying in villages where they had no access.
Earlier this month the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revised its appeal for Ethiopia to at least $325 million to meet the growing demand for aid. The $49 million requested by UNICEF is for immediate humanitarian interventions.