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Ethiopia distributes wheat and oil to millions facing hunger

Published 11/11/2015

More than eight million people in Ethiopia require urgent food assistance
More than eight million people in Ethiopia require urgent food assistance

The Ethiopian government has started distributing food to people facing hunger in the northern and north-eastern parts of the country.

The government is now supplying 15 kilograms of wheat and half a litre of cooking oil per adult in the areas hit by drought conditions, according to Mitiku Kassa, secretary of the Ethiopian Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee.

More than eight million people require urgent food assistance and the Ethiopian government says there is only enough food aid to feed them through December.

The government recently appealed to the international community for 596 million US dollars (£392 million) in food assistance.

The food insecurity is fuelled by the failure of Ethiopia's spring rains that resulted in poor crop yields.

The UN says the scale of the developing emergency exceeds resources available so far.

Its humanitarian office in Ethiopia said: "The El Nino global climactic event has wreaked havoc on Ethiopia's summer rains. This comes on the heels of failed spring rains and has driven food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages in affected areas of the country."

The US Agency for International Development, which announced funding of nearly 97 million dollars (£63 million) in additional food assistance to assist vulnerable people, said that as El Nino progresses into 2016, Ethiopia is likely to experience both prolonged drought and intense flooding that will further worsen food security.

Sisay Gebrselassie, a resident of Wukro in northern Ethiopia who recently moved to the capital Addis Ababa, said he believed one in five families in his hometown have lost their crops.

"They have now left their farmlands for their cattle to scavenge whatever they can get from it," he said, adding that many farmers are selling their cattle before they die.

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