The United Nations’ World Food Organization (WFP) made an urgent call to help feed the tens of millions of hungry people in Ethiopia.
According to WFP Regional East Africa Director Michael Dunford, the number of people facing food insecurity has jumped 90 percent over the past year to 89 million people.
“Ethiopia’s situation right now is worse than any other country in the world,” Dunford said in an interview in Rome, “and that’s caused by a combination of conflict, climate, the impact of COVID-19, and now we have a sharp rise in inflation, part of which the magnitude is due to the war in Ukraine.”
The north of the country has been torn apart by war over the past 19 months and has left more than 13 million people there in need of humanitarian food aid, mainly in the conflict-affected zones of the Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions. Meanwhile, the south side of the country is wracked with drought without rain for the fourth year in a row.
The WFP says more than 20 percent of children in Tigray are malnourished.
WFP officials are particularly concerned about the repercussions of the war in Ukraine. the reason is that three-quarters of WFP’s and the Ethiopian government’s supply of wheat comes from Ukraine and Russia.
The region also imports fertilizer from Ukraine, and if that supply doesn’t get delivered the impact next year could be devastating.
The UN organization is seeking to feed 11 million people in Ethiopia over the next six months, but they will need more than $470 million to do so. [rd/jm]