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In response to worsening drought in Ethiopia, IFRC announces four-fold increase of relief and recovery operations

With 5.6 million Ethiopians in the grip of a worsening food crisis, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) today announced a significant expansion of its emergency response effort, including a four-fold increase in its appeal and a five-fold increase in the number of people targeted for support.

“The reports we are receiving from our Red Cross colleagues in Ethiopia, particularly as it relates to communities in the south and south-east, are extremely concerning,” said Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, IFRC Regional Director for Africa. “Livestock is emaciated and dying, water sources are drying up, and malnutrition rates are rising.”

The IFRC appeal is now seeking 13.7 million Swiss francs – increased from 2.6 million Swiss francs – to support the Ethiopian Red Cross Society in assisting nearly 320,000 people over the next nine months. To date, about 2 million Swiss francs has been received. Increased investment from partners will enable Red Cross volunteers and staff to provide food for tens of thousands of people, screen children for malnutrition, and improve access to health services and clean water.

It will also fund efforts to strengthen recovery and resilience, including through livelihoods interventions such as provision of fodder and feed, livestock restocking, and rehabilitation of livestock water facilities.

As is the case across East Africa, Red Cross and Red Crescent action will target communities that are yet to receive adequate support, including communities that are isolated and hard-to-reach, for example; Bidu in Afar region and Moyale in the Somali and Oromia regions of Ethiopia.  

“The Ethiopian Red Cross Society has been responding to this emergency for more than 12 months. But continued failed rains, and a lack of funding for our appeal and for many other appeals, has meant that the situation has continued to worsen,” said Frehiwot Worku, Secretary General, Ethiopian Red Cross Society. “We cannot afford further delays. People need our help now.”

The food insecurity crisis began after the consecutive failures of the rains knows as Belg (March-May) and Kiremet (June-September) in 2015, combined with erratic weather conditions attributed to El Nino. As a result, almost every part of Ethiopia has experienced below average rainfall in the past two years, resulting in large numbers of people in need of emergency humanitarian support.

IFRC initially launched an Emergency Appeal in January 2016 for 2.2 million Swiss francs to support 35,000 people. The appeal was revised in June 2016 to 2.7 million Swiss francs targeting 65,000 people.

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).