UN: Six million need aid in drought-hit parts of Ethiopia
The drought is exacerbating Ethiopia's humanitarian catastrophe, which has already been aggravated by the conflict in the north of the nation.
More than six million people in drought-stricken parts of eastern and southern Ethiopia would require "life-saving" help this year, according to a new report from the UN's emergency response agency.
The drought is exacerbating Ethiopia's humanitarian catastrophe, which has already been aggravated by the conflict in the north of the nation between government forces and the Tigray People's Liberation Army (TPLF).
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement posted online this week that the drought in Somalia and East and South Oromia is having a "devastating impact on the lives and livelihood of pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities living in the area after the third consecutive failed rainy season."
The statement added that more than 6.4 million people in the affected areas will need food help this year, and that while the Ethiopian government and its humanitarian partners were attempting to address the situation, "the response is not commensurate with the urgent need."
Furthermore, water shortages afflicted almost three million people in Somalia and South Oromia, forcing an unknown number of people to flee their homes.
In total, about 200,000 children and pregnant or breastfeeding women were suffering from moderate malnutrition and 14,000 children acute malnutrition, the statement said, adding that cattle deaths were also reported in several hundreds of thousands due to lack of water and food.
The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) reported in November that the number of people facing hunger as a result of the conflict had risen to 9.4 million in Tigray and the neighboring areas of Amhara and Afar.
Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering in famine-like conditions in Tigray, which is under a de facto blockade, according to the UN.
“Patients dying as medicines run out in Ethiopia's Tigray”
Patients are dying needlessly of treatable ailments, according to doctors in Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray region, since a de facto embargo prevents medicines and other life-saving supplies from reaching afflicted hospitals.
According to specialists at Tigray's largest hospital, a severe lack of oxygen, intravenous fluids, and other crucial equipment has made surgery and other critical procedures nearly impossible for the previous six months.
"As a result, infants who require shunt procedures are left to die, those with treatable diseases are refused their rights, and those with fractures are forced to wait while immobilized," doctors at Ayder Referral Hospital wrote in a statement dated January 4.
It is worth mentioning that the Ethiopian government and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) accuse each other of preventing aid from reaching Tigray.
The Norwegian Refugee Council, an organization that used to work in Tigray, announced on Wednesday that Ethiopian authorities have lifted a five-month restriction on humanitarian relief activities.