Britain has pledged to offer £38-million ($61-million) to Ethiopia in order to feed more than one million people who have been devastated by a severe drought.
Andrew Mitchell, secretary of International Development. said the cash delivered to the World Food Program will also be made available to 329,000 malnourished children and mothers.
According to reports, more than 3-million Ethiopians are in dire need as the country faces its worst drought in a decade. A total of 10-million people are affected by the drought across the Horn of Africa, including significant territories in Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.
Through no fault of its own, the Horn of Africa is experiencing a severe drought caused by the failed rains, said Mitchell in a statement.
Britain is acting quickly and decisively in Ethiopia to stop this crisis becoming a catastrophe. We will provide vital food to help 1.3-million people through the next three months. This situation needs an international response and Britain is calling on the international community to provide fast, effective relief.
Mitchell also asked Ethiopia’s government to provide accurate information about the gathering crisis.
For the response to be effective, we need the most up-to-date, accurate information on the level of need in Ethiopia, he said.
The country has made great strides in many areas over the past thirty years and this emergency relief will help to ensure that these gains are not eroded.
The British charity Oxfam praised the UK government’s decision.
Oxfam’s humanitarian director Jane Cocking told British media: There are already critical and life-threatening food shortages in Ethiopia and across the Horn of Africa region. Two successive poor rains have left millions of people struggling to get food as hundreds of thousands of livestock have died and crops have failed. Other donors now need to follow suit and increase funding before it is too late.
Similarly, another charity, Save The Children, also focused on the magnitude of the crisis.
Save The Children’s emergency adviser, Matt Wingate, told reporters: Money pledged by the UK government will mean that aid agencies can get life-saving help to hundreds of thousands more children and their families. Our staff are receiving more and more malnourished children on the verge of starvation in our feeding centers across the region every day.”
Wingate added: We urgently need other rich countries and donors to follow the UK government's lead and give money now so we can stop children dying across the region.
Also, the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (Cafod) emphasized the desperation in East Africa.
Cafod’s director of advocacy Neil Thorns told media: There is nothing on the horizon that will improve that picture, and every indication it will get much, much worse.
Valerie Ann Amos (Baroness Amos), the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has urged wealthy countries to help East Africa.
In the drought-affected areas we now have 10 million people who are affected, she told BBC.
In Somalia the numbers have now gone up to 2.5 million people. So we are talking about an extremely serious situation. I think as a world community we have recognized that when people are in this kind of desperate emergency situation that you have to be neutral and you have to be impartial in the way that you help people.