United Nations, Aug 9 (IANS) Humanitarians in Ethiopia are targeting more than 16 million people for drought aid while more than 1.7 million people face flooding, a UN spokesman said.
The worst drought in 40 years brought worsening levels of malnutrition to the millions, said Stephane Dujarric, Chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on Monday. The drought also killed more than 3.5 million livestock.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that more than 21 million people face acute food insecurity following four failed rainy seasons across Somalia, northern Kenya, and southern and eastern Ethiopia. Experts say a dry fifth rainy season this autumn is likely.
'At the same time, parts of Ethiopia face a risk of flooding in the coming weeks,' Dujarric added.
'In northern Ethiopia, humanitarian deliveries continue in the Tigray region, but our ability to distribute it has been limited by shortage of fuel and cash.'
However, he cited two positive developments: the first was 12 tankers carrying 600,000 litres of fuel arriving in the war-torn, northernmost region of Tigray on Wednesday. The second was food aid distributed in three hard-to-reach districts of the Amhara region's Wag Hamra zone for the first time in more than a year, Xinhua news agency reported.
The spokesman said about 2 million litres of fuel are needed each month to sustain humanitarian operations in Tigray. The food for 30,000 people reaching the challenging Amhara districts arrived in the area on July 27. Delivery of additional food assistance, including nutrition and health supplies, is planned.
In the first half of this year, more than 13 million men, women and children received humanitarian assistance in drought-affected areas, including more than 7 million people receiving food aid, he added.
The spokesman said that the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation reported that it is scaling up the urgent procurement of fertilisers to help farmers in Tigray sow their fields in a critical planting season. The operation results from a $10 million loan recently approved by the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund.
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