More than 11 million people and 10 million head of livestock in Ethiopia alone are affected by the Horn of Africa drought, UN humanitarians said on Friday.
“More than 7.2 million people need food assistance, and 4 million people need water assistance,” said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “At least 286,000 people in Ethiopia have migrated in search of water, pasture, or assistance. These are people with the means to travel. Others, often the elderly or the sick, have had to stay behind.”
The office said lack of pasture and water killed at least 1.5 million head of livestock. An additional 10 million head are at risk. Many of the remaining livestock are weak and provide little or no milk, affecting children’s nutrition.
The humanitarian office said the severe drought – following three consecutive failed rainy seasons – also affected the schooling of more than 500,000 children.
OCHA said its humanitarian partners are scaling up assistance, supporting the Ethiopian government. Humanitarians provided food to about 4.9 million people, treated or vaccinated more than 2 million head of livestock. More than 3.3 million people received water assistance.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, who heads OCHA, is visiting the drought-afflicted area, calling attention to the suffering in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. He met virtually with people directly affected by the drought in Ethiopia’s Somali region.
Griffiths’ office said he released 12 million U.S. dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund to support the humanitarian action. The Ethiopia humanitarian fund has also allocated 17 million dollars for the crisis.
However, OCHA said additional funding is urgently needed. The United Nations and humanitarian partners require 480 million dollars to support the response through October.