United Nations, May 14 (IANS) More than 11 million people in Ethiopia alone are affected by the Horn of Africa drought, UN humanitarians said.
“More than 7.2 million people need food assistance, and 4 million people need water assistance,” said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“At least 286,000 people in Ethiopia have migrated in search of water, pasture, or assistance. These are people with the means to travel. Others, often the elderly or the sick, have had to stay behind.”
The office said lack of pasture and water killed at least 1.5 million head of livestock. An additional 10 million head are at risk. Many of the remaining livestock are weak and provide little or no milk, affecting children’s nutrition, reports Xinhua news agency.
The humanitarian office said the severe drought, following three consecutive failed rainy seasons, also affected the schooling of more than 500,000 children.
OCHA said its humanitarian partners are scaling up assistance, supporting the Ethiopian government.
Humanitarians provided food to about 4.9 million people, treated or vaccinated more than 2 million head of livestock. More than 3.3 million people received water assistance.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, who heads OCHA, is visiting the drought-afflicted area, calling attention to the suffering in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
He virtually met people directly affected by the drought in Ethiopia’s Somali region.
Griffiths’ office said he released $12 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to support the humanitarian action.
The Ethiopia humanitarian fund has also allocated $17 million for the crisis.
However, OCHA said additional funding is urgently needed.
The UN and humanitarian partners require $480 million to support the response through October.