According to Save the Children, Ethiopia is on the verge of the worse drought in 50 years, and the response hasn’t been big enough to handle the issue. They are expecting around 350,000 newborns during the next six months, when the “hunger season” reaches its peak. Those extra mouths will be hard to feed in the large portions of the country struggling to get by, where rain failures will be preventing the growth of much of anything on rain-fed farms.
According to the charity, this is a “code red emergency,” and should be treated as such. Unfortunately, neither the United Nations nor the international community in general seems to be taking it seriously. Response to the drought has been minimal, and he charity is concerned for Ethiopia’s ability to cope.
The drought is due to El Niño, which began last year and causes extreme weather conditions around the world. In this case, it’s resulting in a severe reduction of rain in the east African country, which has left 10.1 million people in need of aid.
Save the Children is currently working in over 60 of the most affected areas of the country, helping to provide food, water, and medicine to people in need, especially those who have lost their incomes due to the drought. They think they’d need about $1.4 billion in order to fight the effects of the drought, something they don’t expect to get.
Hopefully, the African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa, and at which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is set to address African leaders, will provide an opportunity to make the case for greater involvement of both the United Nations and the international community. That summit is running from January 21st to January 31st, so the charity and Ethiopian leaders should have a chance to get the word out.