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Food shortages and funding gap push extra 700,000 people to verge of starvation in Ethiopia

By Oxfam

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In response to the newly released Humanitarian Response Document by the Government of Ethiopia, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Program Manager in Ethiopia, Manish Kumar said: 

‘’Yet another poor rainy season, the third in a row, has plunged 700,000 more people into crippling hunger and on the verge of starvation in the Somali region of southern Ethiopia. Now in the midst of the lean season, people are fast running out of food as some areas have not had any food distributions since May. A deadly mix of severe acute malnutrition coupled with acute watery diarrhea could put thousands of lives at risk, particularly the elderly and children. Families have been separated as men and boys travel for longer to look for water and pasture, leaving women and children often vulnerable and at risk of violence. Barely getting by now, people will have to wait until the next rains in October for any reprieve. We need to act now to prevent this crisis from turning into a catastrophe.

“Lives are literally on the line. The government made the final pay-out of its social protection scheme in July and in August emergency food aid could run dry. Whilst the government has put in its own resources into the response, the scale of need is overwhelming and rising. Of the US$ 1.25 billion needed to provide food, water and other life-saving assistance, 39% of the new response plan is yet to be funded. The international community needs to step up their efforts and fully fund the humanitarian appeal so that people can get the help they need. They must also support recovery and development programs that help communities to rebuild their livelihoods and resilience to future droughts.’’ 

Notes to editors: 

Full details of the revised humanitarian response document can be found here.

Oxfam is providing life-saving aid in the most remote locations in seven zones of the Somali region, south of the country. As of 07 August, we have delivered clean safe water and cash assistance for over 653,000 people as well as provided treatment and vaccinations for 212,000 livestock. Our response has various integrated WASH and livelihood actions that involve constructions of strategic bore-holes, latrines and sanitation and hygiene awareness. 

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