Children’s Charity Calls for Support for Ethiopian Food Crisis
Urgent funding is needed to help desperate families affected by Ethiopia’s food crisis, reports the international children’s charity Plan Ireland. Food inflation as reported by the government is running at over 45%.
“We’re facing a funding shortfall for our work in Ethiopia and whilst there is undoubtedly a need in Somalia we cannot turn our eyes away from the rest of the Horn of Africa”, said David Dalton, CEO of Plan Ireland who has just returned from a month long visit to crisis affected areas of Ethiopia.
Plan Ireland is now appealing to the international community not to forget Ethiopia, where Plan has a substantial long term presence. People already suffering in the aftermath of failed rains and poor harvests are now finding themselves unable to pay for vital provisions. Official figures state that over 4.5 million people in the country are in need of emergency food aid in the worst drought for decades.
Over €550,000 alone is required to cover the need in this zone.
Dualta Roughneen, Emergency Coordinator in Plan Ireland is currently in Ethiopia to support and assist with the response. Commenting on the situation, Mr. Roughneen said, “The scale of the situation is very hard to get your head around. We are expanding our work into four new areas of the country, to help meet the demands of the food crisis as well as feeding children in places where Plan has long term programmes.”
The government has listed over three hundred sub-regions, or woredas, where there is food insecurity. In particular, it has flagged over 170 of these as grade one woredas meaning that the populations there face severe food shortages now and in the coming months. Government officials have listed, in order of priority, thousands of families in each area who have been targeted to receive food rations.
“The task here is huge and Plan is working to ensure that our relief efforts reach those who are most vulnerable, particularly children and pregnant and lactating women,” said Mr. Dalton.
One of the areas Plan Ireland is focusing its efforts on is the Kambata Tambaro zone in the south west, about 350 kilometres from the capital, Addis Ababa. A poor harvest last year and erratic rains this year mean that families have insufficient food now to take them to the next harvest in November. The initial strategy is to target the families most in need and provide them with Famix, a high protein mix, and fortified vegetable oil.
Rations will be provided every 15 days for three months. Plan will also endeavour to establish referral systems to therapeutic feeding centres to ensure that severely malnourished children will be able to receive the required specialised treatment to enable them to survive. Over €550,000 alone is required to cover the need in this zone.
To find out more and to donate to Plan Ireland’s East Africa Crisis Appeal today visit www.plan.ie or contact Plan Ireland, 126 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2 or call freephone 1800 829 829.