The prolonged drought across much of Ethiopia is likely to continue into next year, and the outlook for crop production in the east of the country remains grim, the United Nations humanitarian wing said today.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said a recent UN crop assessment found that at least six areas of eastern Ethiopia have recorded near total crop failure because of inadequate rainfall.
An inter-agency UN assessment team also began this week to determine the emergency needs for the first half of 2009, as the wider Horn of Africa region continues to suffer from the combined effects of drought and high food prices.
OCHA said the key emergency needs are expected to include food, health care, nutrition, water and sanitation, agriculture and livestock.
Last month OCHA appealed for $265 million to fund its relief operations across Ethiopia for the next three months to meet the widening scale of the crisis, which has left an estimated 6.4 million people dependent on food aid to survive.
An immediate scale-up of government and donor support is essential to meet even the basic needs of drought-hit communities, OCHA stressed.