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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Government requests $596m after crop failure caused by erratic rainfall leaves 48,000 under fives severely malnourished and 8.2 million people at risk
A girl stands in a bakery in the old walled town of Harar in eastern Ethiopia
The Ethiopian government is calling for international assistance to help feed 8.2 million people after erratic rains devastated crop yields.
Climate shocks are common in Ethiopia and often cause poor or failed harvests that lead to acute food shortages.
The government has allocated $192m (£124m) for food and other aid and is appealing for $596m in assistance from the international community for the remainder of 2015, said Mitiku Kassa, secretary of the Ethiopian disaster prevention and preparedness committee.
More than 300,000 children are in need of specialised nutritious food and a projected 48,000 more children under five are suffering from severe malnutrition, according to a government assessment conducted in September.
The situation is “incredibly serious,” said John Aylieff, an official in Ethiopia with the UN’s World Food Programme, who said Ethiopia needs the international community to help remedy the worst effects of El Niño conditions.
The conflict in South Sudan is also exacerbating the food insecurity situation, said Dennis Weller, the USAid mission director in Ethiopia. Since the outbreak ofviolence in South Sudan in mid-December 2013, hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees have fled to Ethiopia and are living alongside local communities.
“We are seeing malnutrition rates go up in some of the host communities. We are looking at ways of reducing the stress levels to the host communities in Ethiopia by providing supplementary feeding that could bring the malnutrition levels down,” he said.
Earlier this month, Oxfam warned that at least 10 million people could experience food shortages as a result of El Niño.
The Central Statistics Agency (CSA) of Ethiopia disclosed that it is going to use mobile technology in the 2017 national population and housing censuses, according to Ethiopian News Agency.
The Agency states mobile technology is needed to fasten the rate of information flow.
The Agency’s plan was disclosed at a regional conference by Kifle Gebre, Information System Technology Director at the Agency.
Head of Ethiopian Statistical Association Secretariat Zelalem Destaw said the new mobile technology will be of much help in avoiding delay of information exchange.
The regional conference which is taking place from October 13 to 17, 2015, will convey useful recommendations and outputs to utilize mobile technologies in collecting statistical data in Africa.
The pilot project is being performed in Ethiopia and other six African countries.
Upon full implementation of the project, collection and dissemination of quality data will be enhanced in Ethiopia, it was learnt.
Source: Ethiopian News Agency
Saado Osman straps two bulging sacks of United Nations wheat to her donkey, one of the few animals the 70-year-old eastern Ethiopian herder has left since the rains stopped.
Like millions of others in the Horn of Africa nation she depended on that precipitation to provide fodder and water for her livestock. Now drought has killed 20 of her cattle and goats, leaving her family of 10 with just four animals.
A dead cow lies in Afar region.
A dead cow lies in Afar region.
Photographer: William Davison/Bloomberg
“There is hunger here,” Saado said as she stood among a crowd receiving food relief in Afdem town in Ethiopia’s Somali region on Oct. 8. “For one year it has not rained.”
Rain failure from February to May this year in Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, was compounded by a short and erratic primary wet season from June to September. That’s left 8.2 million people in need of emergency support, with the crisis set to worsen through September next year, according to the UN.
The effect may spread to the economy: agriculture accounts for 40 percent of output, employs almost 77 percent of Ethiopia’s 97 million people and receives significant government support, according to the World Bank.
Exacerbating the drought is El Nino, the periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean in the area around the Equator. Ethiopia’s economy, which has averaged about 10 percent growth over the past decade, contracted by more than 3 percent in 2003, the last time El Nino occurred.
Ethiopia’s economy has diversified into services since then, and agriculture is less rain-dependent, meaning growth of about 10 percent is still achievable in the 12 months to July 7, said Abraham Tekeste, a junior finance minister. “It’s going to be a very challenging fiscal year,” he told reporters Thursday in the capital, Addis Ababa. “The El Nino effect is very clear.”
MAP: Ethiopia
MAP: Ethiopia
Ethiopia will spend 4 billion birr ($191 million) combating the drought this year and needs donor support, said Mitiku Kassa, who heads the government’s disaster response committee. There are plans to import 627,000 metric tons of wheat and 20,000 tons of edible oil, he said in an interview in Addis Ababa. In total, 15 million people may need food aid in 2015, and an extra $340 million is required for relief efforts this year, the UN said.
The number of children needing emergency treatment for malnutrition reached 43,000 in August, more than during any month in the last major Ethiopian humanitarian crisis in 2011, according to the UN.
“I think we have properly managed the disaster,” Mitiku said. “It’s not out of the control of the government and development partners.”
Abdulla Ayube Uso inspects maize in Eastern Oromia.
Abdulla Ayube Uso inspects maize in Eastern Oromia.
Photographer: William Davison/Bloomberg
The area where Ayube Uso’s family lives in the east of Oromia region, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Afdem, at first appears untroubled. Their village abuts fields of sorghum and corn and a tarmac road. In between juts a near-complete Chinese-built railway to a port in neighboring Djibouti, a sign of economic progress.
Yet they’re struggling. Their crops are sparse, stunted and hold a few kernels, or nothing at all. Most years they grow enough to live on -- this year, the harvest failed. Ayube, 65, can only recall two times it was this bad: during 2002’s El Nino and in the 1984 famine that prompted the Live Aid appeal. To help them get by, his wife gathers firewood to sell in a town three hours’ walk away.
The family also gets aid from a donor-funded government initiative that provides relief as payment for work on irrigation channels or hillside terracing. The 10-year-old project, which runs from January to June, will support 7.9 million Ethiopians next year.

‘Unprecedented’ Drought

Government measures to encourage agriculture include distributing seeds and fertilizer to smallholders and promoting commercial farms. One focus area is the Awash River basin, which supports three state-run sugar projects, cotton plantations and the country’s largest fruit farm.
In the Amibara district of Afar region, 200 farmers in Sa’adin Omar’s community have benefited from government help to irrigate 146 hectares of corn from the river, which is Ethiopia’s longest. Because of drought, only half the plot may produce crops, and the river level is so low that the hose from their water pump can’t reach it, the 45-year-old said in an interview.
On the village outskirts, among sandy soil and thorn-trees, the carcasses of dozens of cows lay scattered around. The price for the animals has crashed from 7,000 birr to as low as 1,500 birr as desperate herders saturate the market, Sa’adin said.
“There has never been a drought like this,” he said.
SOurce: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-15/ethiopian-drought-threatens-growth-as-cattle-die-crops-fail