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News: A quarter million children suffer from ’emergency food shortages’ in drought-stricken Amhara region

According to Amhara Public Health Institute, over 250,000 children are suffering from “emergency food shortages” in drought-affected areas of the region (Photo: Plan Ethiopia)

Addis Abeba – Over 250,000 children are suffering from “emergency food shortages” in drought-affected areas of the Amhara region, according to a recent report by the Amhara Public Health Institute.

According to Haile Ayalew, an expert at the institute, 43 districts in the region have been affected by the drought, leading to the displacement of over 9,000 people who are seeking food and water.

Haile further revealed that the institute has identified children under the age of five and pregnant mothers as being more susceptible to food scarcity and inadequate health services.

“However, only 53% of them have received medical care and therapeutic feeding,” he stated.

An additional 230,300 children exhibit symptoms of moderate malnutrition, yet only 15% have received assistance.

Similarly, out of over 130,000 moderately malnourished mothers, only 11% have received aid.

In addition to the persistent drought, diseases such as measles, mumps, and cholera are also afflicting districts in Amhara.

Given the inadequacy of the government’s existing aid to address the situation, the Institute is appealing for additional support from humanitarian organizations and communities to tackle the extensive scope of the crisis affecting vulnerable groups, including children and mothers.

On 19 February, 2024, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) announced that 10.8 million children throughout Ethiopia, impacted by drought, conflict, and disease epidemics, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in 2024.

UNICEF cautioned that children, in particular, are confronted with dire consequences resulting from the compounding crises, underscoring the necessity for an immediate international response.

The UN agency stipulates that it necessitates $535 million to address pressing needs in 2024, encompassing basic nutrition, healthcare, vaccinations, and access to clean water for vulnerable children. AS

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