The UN and the Government of Ethiopia have appealed for urgent funding to respond to rising hunger in the northern highlands region, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, reported on Friday.
Drought is ravaging communities in Afar, Amhara, Tigray and Oromia, as well as the Southern and South West Ethiopia Peoples’ Region.
Severe water shortages, dried pastures and reduced harvests are impacting millions of people and livestock, with reports of food insecurity and rising malnutrition.
Among those who are particularly vulnerable are people affected by the two-year conflict in Tigray, which ended in 2022, the UN and the authorities said in a joint statement on Thursday.
Numbers will rise
More than six million people are already receiving food and cash across affected areas, but huge gaps remain, OCHA warned.
The number of critically food insecure people will continue to grow over the next few months, reaching a peak of 10.8 million during the lean season from July through September, according to a recent joint assessment by the government and humanitarian partners.
Malnutrition rates in parts of Afar, Amhara and Tigray and other regions have already surpassed globally recognized crisis thresholds, but currently do not reflect famine-like conditions.
“While the situation in many of these areas is already alarming, there is an opportunity to avert a serious humanitarian catastrophe through additional funding to urgently scale up and sustain response efforts,” OCHA said.