from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – FOOD and nutrition support may run dry next month in Ethiopia as conflict, drought and rising food prices push the country further into hunger.
Hunger is tightening its grip on more than 20 million people.
In the north, 19 months of war have left more than 13 million people in need of humanitarian food assistance, mainly in conflict affected zones in Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions.
In southern and south-eastern areas, an estimated 7,4 million people are insecure as the country grapples with the fourth failed consecutive rainy season.
The combination of conflict and drought has caused inflation to soar.
As of April 2022, the Food Price Index has been up by 43 percent compared to the same month last year. The prices for vegetable oil and cereals are up by over 89 percent and 37 percent year-on-year.
The ripple effect of the war in Ukraine is set to exacerbate the food security crisis.
Over three quarters of the World Food Programme’s the government’s wheat – the staple cereal – comes from Ukraine or Russia.
The crisis in Ukraine threatens to push the cost of wheat and fertilizer beyond the means of millions of farmers, threatening this year’s harvest.
WFP’s funding gap has forced rations cuts for more than 700 000 refugees in Ethiopia.
Refugees are now receiving 50 percent of their minimum nutritional requirements.
WFP is aiming to reach more than 11 million of the most vulnerable people over the next six months but is grappling with a staggering US$470 million funding gap.
– CAJ News