1) People risk starvation as ongoing drought worsens food insecurity:
The United Nations estimates that 20 million people in Ethiopia are currently experiencing food insecurity, meaning they are unable to access or afford the food needed to live a healthy life. This will continue into 2023 and catastrophic conditions—where people are starving to death each day—could spread if aid is not immediately scaled up and seasonal rains are poor.
In Oromia, limited access to safe drinking water due to the drought has also contributed to a cholera outbreak. This is particularly dangerous for children whose bodies have been weakened by insufficient food.
2) Fighting and conflict will continue to worsen situation:
A peace deal to end hostilities in the northern Tigray region was announced in November 2022, providing some hope for the more than 5.2 million people in the region who remain in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. For now, it is unclear whether the peace deal will hold or humanitarian assistance will be able to ramp up quickly to meet the scale of the needs. Conflicts in other regions, particularly Oromia, Afar, and Benishangul-Gumuz, are also driving up needs and disrupting aid. The armed group al-Shabaab, which has largely operated in neighboring Somalia, clashed with security forces in Ethiopia’s Somali region in July 2022, which could add to the challenges facing Ethiopian authorities in 2023.
3) A weakened economy is making it even harder for the population to cope and afford enough food:
Numerous crises—drought, conflict and the economic impacts of the war in Ukraine, and global economic conditions—are straining Ethiopian government resources, limiting what it can deploy to address the growing food insecurity crisis.
On top of that, inflation reached a high of 37.7% in May 2022. While inflationary pressures have since eased to their lowest levels in 12 months, food prices remain high. The drought has also eroded people’s access to food, in part due to the high rate of livestock deaths, making it harder for families who rely on agriculture for income to afford enough food.
4) Insufficient funding is preventing the required humanitarian response:
Ethiopia’s drought response requires $1.66 billion. At the end of 2022, only 42% of this was funded, and UNICEF’s appeal for children remains only 38% funded. Only 12% of people in drought-affected areas have been reached with health services, and less than 30% with water, sanitation and hygiene assistance – all of which are critical in avoiding mass deaths during a drought and cholera outbreak.
Full article here.