News: UK announces £16.6 m to support drought, conflict-affected Ethiopians; calls on international community not to lose focus on “deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia”

The UNICEF Nutrition Specialist and Emergency Response Team screen for malnutrition in Adikeh in Wajirat in Southern Tigray in Ethiopia. Photo: © UNICEF/Christine Nesbitt

Addis Abeba – Andrew Mitchell, UK’s Minister for Development, has on 20 January announced £16.6 million in humanitarian aid to support more than 600,000 Ethiopian living in “regions of rising insecurity within Ethiopia.” The UK also called on the international community “not to lose focus on the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.”

The £11.6 million contribution will be to the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) and “will address this humanitarian crisis by delivering aid to those most in need across Ethiopia” including Oromia, Tigray, Amhara and Afar and Harari regions by reaching “around 250,000 people living in extreme poverty with food and livelihood security.”

The remaining £5 million will be channeled through the World Food Program (WFP), to help treat almost 23,000 pregnant and lactating women suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, and provide better infrastructure for feeding programs for 42,000 school pupils in 75 schools, according to official statement on the announcement of the funding.

“With nearly 30 million people across Ethiopia facing severe hardships, this support from the UK comes at a critical moment. Our life-saving aid will reach hundreds of thousands of people – over half of which are women and children who are bearing the brunt of the country’s worsening crisis,” Andrew Mitchell said.

In northern and western regions alone an estimated “22 million people are experiencing devastating food insecurity due to drought, conflict and economic pressures,” the UK said, “in Tigray, humanitarian access has improved since the signing of a peace agreement in November. However, huge numbers of people still have limited access to essential supplies and basic services including food, fuel and healthcare.”

Violence and insecurity continue to rise elsewhere in Ethiopia, including in the Oromia region. “With the security situation deteriorating, significant numbers of civilians have been displaced from their homes, with many beyond the reach of aid agencies, lacking access to essential services such as electricity, a mobile network, health facilities and banks.”

The latest funding by the UK brings the total humanitarian funding it dispersed for Ethiopia for this financial year to £49.2 million, the statement said, adding that during the last 17 years, the UK has provided £650 million to the PSNP alone. AS

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