By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
July 13, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Ethiopian government has began distributing food and non-food aid to millions of drought-stricken Ethiopians in south and south eastern regions of the country, said the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Ethiopian government in April appealed for US$398.4 million to provide emergency food assistance for millions of drought victims. The drought which has hit several countries in East Africa, including Somalia is the worst in 60 years.
The Ministry of Agriculture said some 4.5 million Ethiopians are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance, 40 percent more than estimated in April.
The Disaster Pre-emergency and Response unit and the Ministry of Agriculture are jointly assisting the worst hit areas, with every victim receiving half a litre of edible oil, 15 kilograms of wheat and a balance diet is being distributed to malnourished children.
According to Mitiku Kassa, Agriculture Minister, 380,000 metric tons of food is needed to assist the effected people including 700,000 children under five, pregnant and lactating women from across the country.
“The country has 113 metric tons of food in reserve. However nearly 380 metric tone of food is needed to fill the gap,” said Mitiku.
He added with more aid expected to land in the upcoming few weeks, the Ethiopian government has received 44 percent of the total appeal made for aid, made to the international community. The UK government has also provided US$61 million of aid.