- An elderly woman receives cooking oil at an emergency food aid distribution in the village of Estayish in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region, February 11, 201 (Photo Reuters/ Katy Migiro)
March 18, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian government on Friday has appealed for more food assistance as the Horn of Africa’s nation faces the worst drought in decades.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said his country is seeking of more international support because of the hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries it hosts.
According to aid agencies, the conflict in neighbouring South Sudan, which causes huge influx, is also among factors causing a worsening food insecurity situation.
Ethiopia has witnessed a huge influx of South Sudanese refugees since the outbreak of violence in South Sudan in mid-December 2013.
Currently over 280,000 South Sudanese refugees mainly women and children are being sheltered at camps in Ethiopia alongside local communities.
Recently, Ethiopia’s refugee agency has launched an urgent appeal for food aid to assist hundreds of thousands of refugee’s particularly South Sudanese refugees.
The call for emergency assistance came as Ethiopia struggles to feed millions of its citizens affected after a drought induced by an El Nino weather phenomenon.
Ethiopia currently hosts over 730,000 refugees mainly from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.
Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), a local implementing partner of UNHCR says the refugees mainly those from South Sudan, are in a critical state as the national refugee agency has run short of supplies of food for the refugees.
UNHCR officials told Sudan Tribune that although the refugee agency appealed for 280 million US dollars, donors however have funded only 8% of it.
According to Aid agencies, more than 10 million Ethiopians need urgent food aid and more than 1.4 billion US dollars is needed to deal with the crisis.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government said Friday that the drought has no effect on the construction of Ethiopia’s massive dam Project; the Grand Renaissance Dam Ethiopia is building in the Nile River.
The Office of National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of said “the drought has no adverse effect on the construction of the dam”.
Media and Communication Directorate Director with the Office, Hailu Abrham, told a local media that Ethiopia is intensively engaged in the completion of the GRED despite El-Nino’s effect on the country.
Hailu added that Ethiopians are contributing a lot for the construction of the dam by defying the El-Nino effect.
Currently, the construction of the 4.2 billion dollar massive dam project is at half-way mark.
Slated for completion in 2017, what would be Africa’s largest dam will have power generation capacity of 6,000 MWs.