Mar 6, 2017

Drought emergency spirals in Ethiopia amid major aid shortages

Baragoi
Kenya
by
Katy Migiro
,
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Turkana women carry canisters to get water from a borehole near Baragoy, Kenya February 14, 2017. Photo: Goran Tomasevic, Reuters
Turkana women carry canisters to get water from a borehole near Baragoy, Kenya February 14, 2017. Photo: Goran Tomasevic, Reuters

Millions of drought-stricken Ethiopians needing food, water and emergency medical care are not receiving it due to funding shortages, the United Nations said, warning the crisis will worsen if spring rains fail as predicted.

Some 5.6 million people need food aid in the Horn of Africa nation, which has been hit by a series of back-to-back droughts.

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Almost 13 million people across the Horn of Africa need aid due to drought, including 2.7 million in Kenya, 2.9 million people in Somalia and 1.6 million people in Uganda, OCHA said.

The situation is expected to worsen across the region as the "belg" Spring rains are predicted to fail.

"The expected below normal rainfall will negatively impact belg land preparation and planting, as well as water and pasture availability; with a spiral effect on food and nutritional security of affected communities," OCHA said.

Eastern and southern Africa were hard hit in 2016 by drought exacerbated by El Nino - a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean - that wilted crops, slowed economic growth and drove food prices higher.