- United Nations (UN), World Food programme (WFP) has today appealed for US$460 millions to feed about 10 million Ethiopians affected by drought and high food prices, for next six months.
"Horn of Africa region is facing worst humanitarian crisis since 1984, and Ethiopia is caught in middle," says WFP executive director, Josette Sheeran in a statement issued today.
Mr Sheeran says WFP needs to go out and do its job, to protect hungry.
World's largest humanitarian lifeline said around a quarter of those in need, some two million people, live in arid Somali region of Ethiopia, where it has not rained for three years.
Communities in region have already lost half of their cattle herds. People are reportedly skipping meals and parents are pulling children out of school so that they can help to beg in towns or scour countryside for food.
"Millions of people are in extreme distress and urgently need food and nutrition," Mr Sheeran said.
WFP said it is also facing a similar humanitarian challenge in neighboring Somalia, where 3.25 million people, almost half population, who have also been affected by drought, high food prices and conflict.
Ninety percent of WFP's food deliveries to Somalia arrive by sea, but attacks by pirates are also disrupting supply lines and discouraging ship owners from making journey.
WFP said a Canadian naval vessel that has been escorting ships carrying humanitarian aid, will withdraw its support on 27 September, and no nation has yet volunteered to take over this protective role.
Dutch government is providing an extra €10 million in emergency aid for drought victims in Horn of Africa.
Minister of development corporation, Bert Koenders, announced decision last Saturday.
UN emergency relief coordinator John Holmes said on 19 September that situation in Horn of Africa had reached alarming proportions.
Humanitarian crisis there is giving serious cause for concern, due to a combination of drought and rising food prices and also, in some areas, conflict situations.
Mr Holmes has appealed to international community to act immediately to provide more aid.
Almost 17 million people in Horn of Africa are facing starvation. The problems are worse in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea. Northern Uganda is also struggling with food shortages. The Dutch aid will reportedly be put to use in Ethiopia and Somalia.
Mr Koenders commented, "In Africa, climate is changing rapidly, as a result, we are seeing more shortages of resources and more conflicts."
He said that high food prices and climate change were mainly to blame, adding that, "besides providing emergency aid, we need to invest in structural solutions that will prevent these kinds of emergencies from happening."
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