Over 16 million people in Ethiopia's drought-hit region targeted by UN

Over 16 million people in Ethiopia's drought-hit region targeted by UN

The children are at a food distribution site in the town of Adi Mehameday, in the western Tigray region of Ethiopia, May 28, 2022. CLAIRE NEVILL UNITED NATIONS - Humanitarians in Ethiopia are targeting more than 16 million people for drought aid, while more than 1.7 million people are facing flooding, a UN spokeswoman said on Monday.

The worst drought in 40 years has brought worsening levels of malnutrition to millions, said Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. More than 3.5 million livestock were killed by the drought.

More than 21 million people are in a state of acute food insecurity because of four failed rain seasons in Somalia, northern Kenya, and southern and eastern Ethiopia, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Experts say a dry fifth rainy season is likely this autumn.

Parts of Ethiopia are facing a risk of flooding in the coming weeks, according to Dujarric. In northern Ethiopia, humanitarian deliveries continue in the region of Tigray, but our ability to distribute it has been limited by shortages of fuel and cash. He said there were two positive developments : The first was 12 tankers carrying 600,000 liters of fuel arriving in the war-torn, northernmost region of Tigray on Wednesday. The second was food aid distributed in three hard-to- reach districts of the Wag Hamra region of the Amhara region, for the first time in over a year.

The spokesperson said about 2 million liters of fuel are needed each month to sustain humanitarian operations in Tigray. The food for 30,000 people reaching the challenging Amhara districts arrived in the area on July 27. The delivery of additional food assistance, including nutrition and health supplies, is planned.

More than 13 million people in the first half of this year received humanitarian assistance in drought-affected areas, including more than 7 million people receiving food aid, he said.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that it was scaling up the urgent procurement of fertilizers to help farmers in Tigray sow their fields in a critical planting season. The US $10 million loan was approved by the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund.