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WP: Ethiopia is facing a killer drought. But it’s going almost unnoticed. May 2, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Famine in Ethiopia.
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On Thursday, the Ethiopian government increased its count of the number of people requiring emergency food aid from 5.6 million to 7.7 million, a move that aid agencies say was long overdue. The figure is expected to rise further as southeast Ethiopia confronts another fierce drought.


But with food crises erupting across the continent and the government’s budget strained by last year’s drought, the money isn’t there to fight it. There could eventually be as many people in Ethiopia needing emergency food assistance as in Somalia and South Sudan combined.

There have also been accusations that the government is playing down the severity of the crisis to keep the country from looking bad internationally. During the earlier drought, it was months before the government admitted there was a problem, in part because Ethiopia had gained a reputation as Africa’s rising star and didn’t want to go back to being associated with drought and famine.

The contrast is clear in the bustling capital, Addis Ababa, where rainy skies and a hive of construction projects make it feel thousands of miles away from any drought. While Pizza Hut restaurants are set to soon open in the capital, thousands of children in the arid southeast suffer from acute malnutrition, and cholera is ripping through the relief camps.


Ethiopia is facing a killer drought. But it’s going almost unnoticed.

World Food Program supplies are distributed in a village in Jijiga district, part of Ethiopia’s Somali region. (Michael Tewelde/World Food Program)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The announcement by the United Nations in March that 20 million people in four countries were teetering on the edge of famine stunned the world and rammed home the breadth of the humanitarian crisis faced by so many in 2017.

Yet even as donors struggle to meet the severe needs in the war-torn nations of Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, another crisis, more environmental in nature, is taking place nearby — nearly unnoticed.

On Thursday, the Ethiopian government increased its count of the number of people requiring emergency food aid from 5.6 million to 7.7 million, a move that aid agencies say was long overdue. The figure is expected to rise further as southeast Ethiopia confronts another fierce drought.

But with food crises erupting across the continent and the government’s budget strained by last year’s drought, the money isn’t there to fight it. There could eventually be as many people in Ethiopia needing emergency food assistance as in Somalia and South Sudan combined.

 Ethiopia, long associated with a devastating famine in the 1980s, returned to the headlines last year when it was hit by severe drought in the highland region, affecting 10.2 million people. Food aid poured in, the government spent hundreds of millions of its own money, and famine was averted.

Now it’s the turn of the lowland region, particularly the area bordering Somalia, where a drought brought on by warming temperatures in the Indian Ocean has ravaged the flocks of the herders in the region and left people without food.

With their sheep and goats mostly dead, the nomads are clustered in camps surviving on aid from the government and international agencies — but that food is about to run out.

“This response capacity that is currently holding it at bay is about to be overwhelmed,” said Charlie Mason, humanitarian director of Save the Children, which is particularly active in Ethiopia’s impoverished Somali region. “We’ve spent all the money we’ve got, basically.”

With donors focused on Somalia across the border, little international aid has found its way to the Ethiopian areas hit by that drought. “I think it’s partly because there are other priorities, and they are not signaling loudly enough to donor offices,” Mason said.

According to a document detailing Ethiopian’s humanitarian needs that was drawn up in January by the government and aid agencies, Ethiopia needs nearly $1 billion to confront the crisis, more than half of which it still lacks. That figure also does not take into account the revised estimates in the numbers of people requiring aid.

 During last year’s drought, Ethiopia came up with more than $400 million of its own money to fight off famine, but this year, it has been able to commit only $47 million, probably because of an exhausted budget.

There have also been accusations that the government is playing down the severity of the crisis to keep the country from looking bad internationally. During the earlier drought, it was months before the government admitted there was a problem, in part because Ethiopia had gained a reputation as Africa’s rising star and didn’t want to go back to being associated with drought and famine.

The contrast is clear in the bustling capital, Addis Ababa, where rainy skies and a hive of construction projects make it feel thousands of miles away from any drought. While Pizza Hut restaurants are set to soon open in the capital, thousands of children in the arid southeast suffer from acute malnutrition, and cholera is ripping through the relief camps.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP), which is working in Ethiopia’s drought-hit Somali region, has started cutting its food rations to 80 percent. It is short $121 million for its Ethiopia operation this year, and the money is expected to run out over the summer.

If no new money arrives, the rations could be cut to 420 calories for the whole day — the equivalent of a burger. The government’s food contribution will probably suffer a similar fate.

“It’s stretching the humanitarian community,” WFP regional spokeswoman Challiss McDonough said, referring to the string of crises in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere on the continent. “I don’t think of it as donor fatigue. Quite frankly, the donors have been extremely generous, continuing to be so — but they are overwhelmed.”

 There is also the fact that the Horn of Africa has been incredibly unlucky these past few years in terms of weather. Though famine was averted, many parts of the Ethiopian highlands are still recovering from the 2015-2016 drought, which was attributed to the El Niño ocean-warming phenomenon in the Pacific.

The U.N. World Meteorological Organization said Friday that there is a 50 percent to 60 percent chance that the Pacific will see another strong warming trend this year, which means Ethiopia’s highlands will be slammed again at a time when world resources are scarcer than ever.

“The droughts are coming more frequently and more often and they are worse — and that’s climate change. That’s very, very clear,” McDonough said. “You talk to any farmer how are the rains now compared to 20-30 years ago, they see a difference in their lifetimes, particularly the older ones.”

Even while they have one of the smallest carbon footprints on the globe, herders’ fragile existence in the arid climate of the Horn of Africa is probably the most threatened by climate change.

Adding to aid organizations’ concerns is a proposal by the Trump administration to slash U.S. contributions to international aid institutions, including the WFP. The U.S. government is the largest donor to the program. The proposed cuts, part of the president’s 2018 budget blueprint, are likely to face stiff opposition in Congress.


Paul Schemm is the Post’s overnight foreign editor based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, joining the paper in 2016. He previously worked for the Associated Press as North Africa chief correspondent based in Morocco and prior to that in Cairo as part of the Middle East regional bureau.

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IRIN: Displaced and neglected: Ethiopia’s desperate drought victims April 20, 2017

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IDP camp Somali region, Ethiopia

James Jeffrey/IRIN
James Jeffrey

Freelance journalist based in Addis Ababa and regular contributor to IRIN

Dead camels rot on the outskirts of informal settlements in Ethiopia’s rain-starved Somali region as their owners, once proudly self-sufficient pastoralists, turn to government aid to stay alive.

Ethiopia is facing a drought so terrible that nomadic herders, the hardiest of survivors, have been pushed to the brink. The lucky ones receive supplies of food and brackish water, but the majority, who have settled in spontaneous camps in the remotest reaches, must look after themselves.

“We call this drought sima,” said 82-year-old Abdu Karim. “It means ‘everyone is affected’. Even when I was a child, no one spoke of a drought like this one.”

Across the Horn of Africa, people are struggling after three successive years of failed rains. In Somalia and Yemen, there is real fear of famine. While Ethiopia’s remote southern region has been spared the warfare that has deepened the crisis confronting its neighbours, the drought has been no less brutal.

“Having lost most of their livestock, they have also spent out the money they had in reserve to try to keep their last few animals alive,” said Charlie Mason, humanitarian director at Save the Children.

“For those who have lost everything, all they can now do is go to a government assistance site for food and water.”

Livestock are the backbone of the region’s economy. Pastoralists here are estimated to have lost in excess of $200 million-worth of cattle, sheep, goats, and camels. That is not only a blow to their wealth, but also deprives them of the meat and milk that is the mainstay of the pastoralist life-support system.

Last year, more than 10 million people were affected by an El Niño-induced drought. The government spent an unprecedented $700 million, while the international community made up the rest of the $1.8 billion needed to meet their needs.

This year, the appeal is for $948 million to help 5.6 million drought-affected people, mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country. So far, only $23.7 million has been received.

“Last year’s response by the government was pretty remarkable,” said World Vision’s Ethiopia director, Edward Brown. “We dodged a bullet. But now the funding gaps are larger on both sides. The UN’s ability is constrained as it looks for big donors – you’ve already got the US talking of slashing foreign aid.”

Under strain

The government has a well-established safety net programme managed by the World Bank that supports the chronically food insecure, typically with cash-for-work projects.

But it doesn’t pick up those affected by sudden shocks like the current drought. They fall under a new and separate programme, which is struggling to register all those in need.

There are 58 settlements for the internally displaced in the Somali region currently receiving government aid. But that’s only a fraction of the 222 sites containing nearly 400,000 displaced people identified in a survey by the International Organization for Migration.

Forty-four percent of these camps reported no access to food, and only 31 percent had a water source within a 20-minute walk.

“People were surviving from what they could forage to eat or sell but now there is nothing left,” said one senior aid worker who visited a settlement 70 kilometres east of the southern town of Dolo Ado, where 650 displaced pastoralist families weren’t receiving any aid at all.

The only livestock left alive in the camp was one skinny cow, its rib cage undulating through its skin, and her new-born calf. In some shelters people were reported as too weak to move.

Pastoralist IDPs in Ethiopia
James Jeffrey/IRIN

“There’s a logical reason to limiting the number of temporary assistance sites – because otherwise getting assistance to people scattered over such a large area becomes a massive challenge,” said Mason.

“The authorities are doing their best. This is a natural disaster, which has affected a huge number of people over an area larger than the UK or New Zealand, and we’re in a race against the clock to get enough food and clean water to enough people in time.”

But given the security restrictions on travel in the Somali region, and the well-known nervousness aid agencies have over antagonising the government, it is very hard to gauge how many people may have fallen through the cracks and are not receiving assistance.

Refugees vs IDPs

The Ethiopian government is far more open over the refugees it helps. It has maintained an open-door policy and currently shelters an estimated 800,000.

Just outside Dolo Ado, where the Ethiopian border intersects with Kenya and Somalia, are two enormous camps. With rows of corrugated iron roofs glinting in the sun, each houses about 40,000 Somalis escaping their own food crisis and ongoing conflict.

“I came with my family because of drought and fear,” said 51-year-old Hasaam Muhammed Ali. He arrived in Buramino camp in 2012 with his two wives and 17 children. “People have different opinions but I know what is there – I will not go back. Perhaps, if the country gets peace like Ethiopia, I might.”

Refugees complain of headaches and itchy skin due to the pervading heat of 38 – 42 degrees Celsius, and of a recent reduction in their monthly allowance of cereals and grains from 16 to 13.5 kilograms.

However, they are guaranteed that ration, along with water, health and education services – none of which is available to IDPs in a settlement on the outskirts of Dolo Ado.

“We don’t oppose support for refugees – they should be helped as they face bigger problems,” said 70-year-old Abiyu Alsow. “But we are frustrated as we aren’t getting anything from the government or NGOs.”

Abiyu spoke amid a cluster of women, children, and a few old men beside makeshift domed shelters fashioned out of sticks and fabric. Husbands were away either trying to source money from relatives, looking for daily labour in the town, or making charcoal for family use and to sell.

“When people cross borders, the world is more interested,” said Hamidu Jalleh from the UN’s emergency aid coordination office, OCHA. “Especially if they are fleeing conflict, it is a far more captivating issue. But the issue of internally displaced persons doesn’t [generate] the same attention.”

In the Somali region’s northern Siti zone, IDP camps from droughts in 2015 and 2016 are still full. It takes between seven and 10 years for pastoralists to rebuild flocks and herds after losses of more than 40 percent, according to research by the International Livestock Research Institute and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

“Humanitarian responses around the world are managing to get people through these massive crises to prevent loss of life,” said Mason. “But there’s not enough financial backing to get people back on their feet again.”

And Ethiopia’s crisis is far from over. The main spring Gu/Ganna rains have finally begun in parts of the Somali region, but they were a month late.

The forecast is that they will be below average and won’t regenerate pasture sufficiently for the pastoralists, who have lost so much, to rebuild their lives.


Related articles:-

El Niño dramatically increases number of cholera cases

 

 

OXFAM: As drought grips Ethiopia, a mother waits to name her newborn

Nineteen African countries are facing acute levels of food insecurity. Ten of those countries are experiencing internal conflict. March 28, 2017

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Acute Food Insecurity and Conflict in Africa

By the Africa Center for Strategic Studies

February 17, 2017

Acute food insecurity and conflict in Africa by Africa Center for Strategic Studies


Nineteen African countries are facing acute levels of food insecurity. Ten of those countries are experiencing internal conflict.
Nineteen African countries are facing acute levels of food insecurity. Ten of those countries are experiencing internal conflict.
Click on image to download as PDF.


Historic droughts in East and Southern Africa have caused food prices to skyrocket to record levels, doubling the price of staple cereals in some areas. The areas of greatest food insecurity, however, are those affected by conflict. An arc of conflict-affected countries, largely overlapping regions of greatest food insecurity, spans the center of the continent from Somalia to Mali. In addition to disrupting production, conflict undercuts markets that would normally bring food to areas of greatest shortage. In some places, conflict prevents even conducting a full assessment of the level of food insecurity. And because countries in conflict lack the resilience or coping mechanisms of more stable areas, their food crises tend to last longer and have more lasting impact. In short:
Nineteen African countries are facing crisis, emergency, or catastrophic levels of food insecurity
Ten of those countries are experiencing civil conflict
Eight of those ten countries are autocracies
Those eight are also the source of 82 percent of the 18.5 million Africans that are internally displaced or refugees


 

https://twitter.com/AfricaACSS/status/846720205703299074/photo/1

IRIN: Ethiopia in 2017: New drought: 15.9m people in famine crisis March 19, 2017

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Farmers, traders and consumers across East and Southern Africa are feeling the impact of consecutive seasons of drought that have scorched harvests and ruined livelihoods.

Ethiopia: The strongest El Niño phenomenon on record led to an extreme drought in 2016, with 10.2 million in need of food aid. A new drought means 2017 could be just as dire, throwing an additional 5.7 million people into crisis. Farmers and herders found their resilience tested to the limit last year. They have very limited resources left to cope with the current crisis. More at IRIN: Drought in Africa.

OCHA: Ethiopia: New drought puts recovery and neighbouring countries at risk

 

2016 was a challenging year for Ethiopia. But 2017 could be equally dire, as the country has been hit by a new drought. As 2.4 million farmers and herders cannot sustainably practice their livelihoods and reinvigorate their already drought-stricken farms, the new drought is throwing an additional 5.7 million people into crisis.

At the launch of the Humanitarian Requirements Document, UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien called for US$948 million to meet people’s survival and livelihoods needs in 2017.

“We need to act now before it is too late,” he said. “We have no time to lose. Livestock are already dying, pastoralists and farmers are already fleeing their homes in search of water and pasture, and hunger and malnutrition levels will rise soon if assistance does not arrive on time.”


Source: 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document

Back-to-back cycles of poor or non-existent rainfall since 2015, coupled with the strongest El Niño on record, led to Ethiopia’s worst drought in decades. The new drought has hit southern and eastern regions, and pastoralists and farmers are fleeing their homes to find water and pasture.

The new drought extends beyond Ethiopia’s borders—in Kenya and Somalia, it has already pushed 1.3 million people and 5 million people into hunger, respectively. Severe water and pasture shortages in Somalia have resulted in livestock deaths, disrupted livelihoods and caused massive food shortages.

GLOBAL EMERGENCY PLEA FOR THE DROUGHT STRICKEN AREAS OF EASTERN AFRICA March 18, 2017

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AN URGENT PLEA!
Hello dear esteemed managerial staffs, Risk-taking and Committed Journalists and Thoughtful and Truthful Reporters of Global Media Outlets!
Today, I kindly call up on and humanely urge you, to search, research and report on the case of drought weakening and dismantling almost all parts of Eastern Africa. Literature and memories have it that, though the intensity and severity might differ, almost all countries in this part of the world is facing some amount of pressure from drastic factors of Climate Change. Particularly, these regions are suffering from A Very Rapid Desertification locally and irreversible Global Warming universally since the last three decades. It is very sad that, we have multitudes of witnesses and plentiful of testimonies also that the deep-rooted Poverty, ever growing and rampant Corruption and other pertinent problems of Good Governance make the issue under a multidimensional media’s spotlight. This is why, this area is literally dubbed ‘a hell on the face of the planet earth’.
Recently, I, personally, observed the case of Borana, Gabra, Garri, Guji, Gedio, Sidama, Western Arsi and Eastern Shawa communities in Central and Southern Ethiopia, Northern Kenya and South-Western Somalia. More or less, people of these areas lived up experiencing droughts in the past. In these vicinity all in pastoral, agro-pastoral and agricultural settings they saw the taste of desert somehow. I also, personally have seen it. Bitterly faced it. Kept living being affected by it. I admit that I have seen peoples’ livelihood shifted, villages abandoned, children drawn out of schools, old men engaged in hard and unsafe work, pregnant women traveling long journeys in search for a can of drinking water and lives perished in vain and lost in the perching wilderness- all because of severe drought. Nevertheless, unlike the drought we are accustomed to know, this year round it is different completely. There is no place unaffected. No loopholes to take refuge for the herds and shepherds.
For instance, in the case of Borana Zone there has been no rain for the two consecutive normal rainy seasons. No fodder and water for animal consumption in any part of this area let it be Liban, Dirre, Malbe, Golbo, Sakhu or Waso. Now as we speak, in Borana, the drought is so much severe than its former status that let alone livestocks, human lives are at stake and at unredeemable risk if we fail to react as soon as we can. FYI, a rumor is being aired that quite a number of people have been died of hunger in Sakhu (Marsabit) county, around Magado in Dirre Woreda, Chari in Elwaye Woreda and some are on their deathbed around remote parts of the province where trucks can not easily travel and distribute the life’s essentials like water and food. The case of Liban areas, that is the worst case scenario though we need more details to cover much on the matter later on.
Anyway, this challenge has persisted long enough (more than consecutive 8 months now) in this area to render all community members helpless and hopeless; whether they are/were rich or poor, young or old, men or women, educated or non-educated. In these all periods of drought, the urban elites and youth groups from these communities have tried their best in easying the matter. They tried their best. They have raised funds at different levels and tried to help the drought stricken community members. Their vigor and hope is now fading. Therefore, they are pleading with the Global Communities. They say in unison, “We appreciate all efforts done by our fellow humans to help our pastoral community, in standing by our side and restoring the livelihood of rural dwellers which is very worse in comparison to towns’. Not only in the past, but also we have seen many individuals and groups supporting the rural people along with us. However, the drought is still being more severe than any time before. Despite the willingness of many Voluntary Aid Organizations and Emergency Projects to share what they have there is a huge gap in provision. We all know that, the Humanitarian Aids Organizations aim to save the lives and give us supplementary and temporal handouts at least. Unfortunately, most of them could not manage to do that because of the lack of tangible information on the ground. Leaders tend to talk about Resilience and Sustainability than our immediate need right now. We want sustainability as any other nations in the world. But now, our urgent need is food, water and medicine for survival.” They also asserted, “The governments, various social groups and stakeholders shall not keep silent on us because we’re on the brink of death. Mass death!’

The Top 10 Poorest Countries in Africa:  With one of the lowest GDP Per Capita ($505) on the continent, Ethiopia making  the 9th poorest country. September 26, 2016

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Odaa OromooOromianEconomist05df6-normal_addis_ababa_slum_-_march_2013

Shoppers and vendors make their way down a flooded street in Merkato, one of Africa's largest market areas, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, commonly known as Ethiopia, is the continent’s ninth poorest country. Its 100 million citizens make it the most populous landlocked nation in the world, and the second most populous on the continent after Nigeria.

Surprisingly, the economic situation in Ethiopia only worsened as recent as 2008, when the country’s inflation rose to double digits due to it’s a myriad of factors including its loose monetary policy, high food prices, and a huge civil service wage bill. Thus, the economic problems in the country are considered structural issues in governance, which are gradually being addressed by the government. The country’s best performing sector is agriculture.

Nevertheless, the country’s GDP remains to be one of the lowest on the continent, making it the 9th poorest nation.

The ten poorests countries are:

10. Guinea-Conakry

9. Ethiopia

8. The Gambia

7. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

6. Madagascar-

5. Liberia

4. Niger

3. Central African Republic (CAR)

2. Burundi

1. Malawi


9. Ethiopia- GDP per capita: $505.00.

Shoppers and vendors make their way down a flooded street in Merkato, one of Africa's largest market areas, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Shoppers and vendors make their way down a flooded street in Merkato, one of Africa’s largest market areas, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

 

Source: The Top 10 Poorest Countries in Africa

UN: Ethiopia: El Niño: Overview of Impact, Projected Humanitarian Needs and Response as of 02 June 2016 June 3, 2016

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 Odaa Oromoo

Ethiopian Drought (famine) Projected outlook, June -September 2016

ETHIOPIA: The worst drought in 50 years has tripled humanitarian needs since early 2015. More than 2.3 million households need immediate agricultural support. The number of people who need emergency health interventions nearly doubled in three months, from 3.6 million in December 2015 to 6.8 million in March 2016. A total of 10.2 million people still need food assistance, and this number is expected to grow in the second half of the year. There are an estimated 2 million additional ‘ad hoc beneficiaries’ – people needing assistance outside the original plan. Malnutrition rates are staggering, with over one third of Ethiopia’s woredas (districts) officially classified as facing a dire food security and nutrition crisis. A total of 2.5 million children under age 5, pregnant women and nursing mothers need treatment for moderate acute malnutrition . It is estimated that 20 per cent of the expected 435,000 severely malnourished children will develop medical complications that need intensive life-saving medical treatment in hospital-based therapeutic feeding centres….

OCHA_ElNino_Monthly_Report_2Jun2016


The humanitarian impact of the 2015-2016 El Niño remains deeply alarming, now affecting over 60 million people. Central America, East Africa (particularly Ethiopia), the Pacific and Southern Africa remain the most affected regions. The El Niño phenomenon is now in decline, but projections indicate the situation will worsen throughout at least the end of the year, with food insecurity caused primarily by drought not likely to peak before December. Therefore, the humanitarian impacts will last well into 2017 . El Niño has affected food security and agricultural production, with cascading effects on livelihoods, health, water, sanitation, education and other sectors. This is due to flooding, disease outbreaks and malnutrition, disruption of health and education services, and overall increased mortality. In Eastern and Southern Africa,¹ some 50.2 million people are food insecure, many due to drought exacerbated by El Niño or due to a combination of drought and conflict. This number is expected to increase significantly towards the end of the year. Drought, flooding and extreme weather events caused by El Niño affect women and girls in particular ways which must be understood and incorporated into humanitarian and development interventions.

This year’s El Niño is taking place in a world already dramatically affected by climate change. More extreme weather events are expected, and climate change may increase the frequency and severity of future El Niño events. These events hit the poorest communities hardest. This means that, in addition to responding quickly to critical food, water, nutrition, health and livelihoods requirements, efforts must be focused on building climate resilience and the capacity to respond to future shocks.

The likelihood of a La Niña developing by September 2016 has increased to 75 per cent². However, some uncertainty remains, as forecasts made at this time of the year typically have less accuracy than those made during the second half of the year. The World Meteorological Organization’s El Niño/La Niña Update3 of 12 May indicates a return to ENSO-neutral conditions in May 2016, with odds increasing of La Niña development in the third quarter. The specific impacts of La Niña are difficult to predict, but it typically brings extreme weather to the same regions most affected by El Niño, where people’s coping capacities have already been eroded. Areas now experiencing drought could face flooding, and areas that have seen excessive rainfall with El Niño could experience drought. This means that La Niña preparedness and early action need to be built into El Niño response and recovery efforts, and development actors should increase risk and vulnerability-reduction efforts in priority areas, including by reprioritizing existing development funding to mitigate the risks.

Several additional countries have finalized costed response plans since the last Global Overview, raising the funding request to almost US$3.9 billion. Response plans with requests for international assistance have been completed by Governments and/or humanitarian partners in 19 countries, with other plans still being finalized. Since mid-2015, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated over $119 million to 19 countries. Reflecting recent pledges and new funding requests, the current funding gap is almost $2.5 billion. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is expected to issue a regional appeal in June 2016, based on new crop assessments completed in May/June, which is expected to increase the funding request. The food security and agriculture sector is the worst affected by El Niño, with funding requests comprising almost 80 per cent of all national and humanitarian response plans.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

Famine and the “Ethiopia rising” meme: Can bricks be bread? Can starving children eat a train? November 16, 2015

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???????????Ethiopia in 2015, catatrphic famine, over 15 million people affected

This is Ethiopia in 2015: Over 15 million are like this

Famine Ethiopia 2015 BBC reportFamine in Ethiopia 2015ethi_famine_30_years1414175983

 

 

Despite the “Ethiopia rising” meme, the country remains a place where 30.7% of the population live on less than 1.25$/day ; 88 children out of 1000 live births die every year before they reach the age of 5; 67% of all deaths of children aged under 5 years take place before a child’s first birthday; a total of 34.6% of children are born underweight, while 50.7% are stunted; and Ethiopia is a country which has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios (675 maternal deaths/100 000 live births). In addition, Ethiopia is now facing yet another severe drought and looming famine catastrophe ; the worst it has seen in 30 years and estimated 15 million people will likely need food assistance in 2016. UNICEF figures indicate a 27% increase in the number of children treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition already; 197 woredas had measles outbreaks; 14,300 suspected and 11,700 confirmed measles cases so far. Once again, the international community has started its never ending task of feeding hungry Ethiopians who are failed by their own government.   http://shemsubireda.tumblr.com/post/133198947059/the-ethiopia-rising-meme

The “Ethiopia rising” meme

We have been sold this “Ethiopia rising” meme for years now. The Ethiopian government keeps projecting this narrative 24/7. State media have been preoccupied with plastering images of construction projects and GDP rates on the minds of citizens; and Global “Experts on Africa” have added the “Ethiopia rising” meme to their already existing “Africa rising” meme as well.

The “Ethiopia rising” meme has become pernicious in part because it is half-truth. Construction projects are indeed visibly “booming”. We can at least see the Addis Ababa light rail with our own eyes. Sophisticated international economists tell us the latest GDP figures as well. Local, Bole resident, developmental government minions and cadres echo these GDP figures too; along with their fellow traveler, foreign born drive by reporters who are mostly based in Addis Ababa; They go out on field missions on few occasions and believe new buildings and a new light rail in Addis Ababa is the same as development of an entire country of 94 million people.

For such people, their echo chamber is filled with the “Ethiopia rising” noise. As a result, “Ethiopia rising” is the answer to everything. They have been so primed with this meme that they might even answer the question “What is 1 + 1?” with “Ethiopia rising”. Ask them if bricks can be bread or if starving children can eat a train and they will have no answer. (Or maybe they’ll just answer you with “Ethiopia rising”)

Skeptics of this “Ethiopia rising” meme have always been unwilling to buy into this narrative and refuse to equate Ethiopia’s GDP growth with development. Despite the “Ethiopia rising” meme, the country remains a place where 30.7% of the population live on less than 1.25$/day ; 88 children out of 1000 live births die every year before they reach the age of 5; 67% of all deaths of children aged under 5 years take place before a child’s first birthday; a total of 34.6% of children are born underweight, while 50.7% are stunted; and Ethiopia is a country which has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality ratios (675 maternal deaths/100 000 live births)

In addition, Ethiopia is now facing yet another severe drought and looming famine catastrophe ; the worst it has seen in 30 years and estimated 15 million people will likely need food assistance in 2016. UNICEF figures indicate a 27% increase in the number of children treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition already; 197 woredas had measles outbreaks; 14,300 suspected and 11,700 confirmed measles cases so far. Once again, the international community has started its never ending task of feeding hungry Ethiopians who are failed by their own government; yet another evidence for why the “Ethiopia rising” meme remains half-truth, if not a complete lie.

The extent of lives lost due to the ongoing drought is an unknown know reality for the moment. The government has suppressed report on mortality rates. Although public health information is incomplete without such vital statistics, UNICEF’s situations reports on the current humanitarian crisis bear no mortality rates. Even zero deaths should be reported in well-respected information sources such as the UNICEF. But that’s not the case here. UNICEF seems to have adopted a position that says “If the government says there are no children who died of starvation, then there are not children who died of starvation”. Yet, one BBC report states “The United Nations say two babies are dying of starvation every day in one area”. However, the government insists “No one has died or displaced due to lack of food in the areas affected by the drought”.

Without vital information such as mortality rates from independent sources, given the extent of Ethiopia’s previous famine disasters, previous and current governments’ denial and cover up on the extent of such disasters, and in spite of the “Ethiopia rising” meme, it’s hard to tell how bad the situation is. It might even be comparable with the 1984 famine.

Source: http://shemsubireda.tumblr.com/post/133198947059/the-ethiopia-rising-meme

 

 

 

Related:

Residents in the Afar Region of Ethiopia Talk about the Drought (VOA)

http://amharic.voanews.com/audio/3060337.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-34770831?SThisFB

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/drought-food-crisis-and-famine-in-ethiopia-2015-children-and-adults-are-dying-of-lack-of-food-water-and-malnutrition-animals-are-perishing-of-persisting-drought-the-worst-affected-areas-are-e/