Saturday, April 09, 2016

Same old story

At least six million children in Ethiopia face critical food shortages as a result of the worst drought in 50 years, Save the Children warned. The number of Ethiopians without enough food is rising as the drought intensifies in the African country with children particularly vulnerable.

The drought-affected area is vast with a population of about 30 million affected - with more than one-third in need of emergency food assistance. The region has now suffered three failed growing seasons in a row since mid-2014. More than 14,000 pastoralist families have been on the move since July, looking for work or clean water supplies.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, chief executive of Save the Children said, "Thousands of children are at high risk of malnutrition and waterborne diseases. Families are on the move, desperate to find food and water. We have all the right early warning systems in place to prevent potentially enormous human suffering, but what use is early warning if the international community doesn't come forward?"

Habiba, a mother of seven children from Bekato, said she has suffered along with her children because of the crisis. Six of her children became sick and were being treated. "There was no milk, food, or water as the well had dried up. Can you understand as a mother what it is like to see six of your children so ill?"

Layla, mother of four-year-old girl Malou, said she's worried after her daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia.  "We came here from our village. We had to walk six hours on foot to come here," Layla said. "This is the longest drought I have ever seen."

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