WARDER, Ethiopia – Ethiopia is struggling to counter a new drought in its east that authorities say has left 5.6 million people in urgent need of assistance.
U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien visited the remote region on Saturday, saying that “these people are really struggling to survive.” He cautioned, however, against “dramatizing by saying this may degenerate into famine.”
Last year’s drought left 10.2 million people hungry and killed several hundred thousand of the animals that the local pastoralists depend on for their livelihood.
For this drought, Ethiopia’s government is appealing for $948 million from the international community. The country’s disaster prevention chief, Mitiku Kassa, says the government has allocated than $47 million.
The charity Save the Children warns that malnourished refugees are arriving from neighboring Somalia as well, compounding the crisis.