Severe drought has caused 7.4 million people to be food insecure in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.
The WFP, in its latest Ethiopia drought response situation report released Friday, said some 3.3 million people in the East African country’s Somali region, some 3.09 million in the Oromia and 922,000 million people in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ (SNNPR) regions are food insecure due to the ongoing drought.
Close to 300,000 people have migrated in search of water and pasture for their livestock, the WFP said. It disclosed that at least 2.1 million livestock have already perished, while another 10 million are at risk of dying.
It said more than half a million students have been missing school, either due to school closures or because their families need them to help generate income or care for livestock during the critical time.
“While the seasonal short rains took place erratically in March and April, they were far below normal and did not replenish water resources. As a result, the food insecurity situation is expected to persist due to an insufficient harvest,” it said.
WFP is on-ground, aiming to support 3.5 million people with emergency food and nutrition assistance and through school feeding programs while helping smallholder farmers adapt to climate change.
The WFP is supporting families with a combination of emergency relief and resilience-building actions to save lives in the short term and build resilience in the long term. It said food assistance is being delivered in the Somali region, while malnourished children and mothers are treated with specialized nutritious foods.
WFP also supports 12,000 agro-pastoralists with training on small-scale, drought-resistant agricultural techniques and entrepreneurial skills to help them build flourishing businesses and diversify their livelihoods.
In the Oromia and the SNNPR regions, WFP is delivering specialized nutritious foods to address acute malnutrition concerns and providing nutritious school meals to more than 117,000 children whose families have been affected by the drought.
It, however, emphasized that funding shortages have forced it to cut food rations and the number of mothers and children receiving treatment for moderate acute malnutrition in the Somali and SNNPR regions.