Aid urgently needed to help children in drought-stricken Ethiopia


Nearly half a million children under five suffering severe malnutrition, Kiwis asked to help


As the severity of ongoing drought in Ethiopia is exacerbated by the arid effects of ‘super El Niño’, ChildFund New Zealand is appealing to more New Zealanders to contribute to their growing aid response.

“ChildFund, with the help of New Zealand sponsors, has been responding to children and families in need of water and food assistance in Ethiopia following two consecutive seasons of failed rains,” explains ChildFund New Zealand Chief Executive Paul Brown.

 

“The continued impact of changing weather patterns is making a bad situation worse, with millions now affected and in need of urgent assistance.”

 

The global organisation hopes to raise at least NZD $7million to help make-up a mounting shortfall in aid funding for the region which is suffering its worst drought emergency in decades.

 

In December the Ethiopian government declared that 10.2 million people will require immediate humanitarian assistance in 2016, including nearly half a million children under five who are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (estimated 435,000) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (estimated 1 million).

 

Two million people are without access to safe drinking water, heightening the risk of disease outbreak.

 

“Scarcity of water is challenging health, education and livelihoods in most of our operational areas,” says ChildFund Ethiopia’s National Director Chege Ngugi.

 

“Our farmers cannot plant vegetables for household consumption due to the lack of water, nor is there sufficient water for drinking. Pastoralists are forced to wander from place to place with their livestock looking for water and pasture. Children are being taken out of school to go in search of water.”

 

For the past three months, ChildFund Ethiopia has been working with the government and local partners to support 74,000 most vulnerable children and family members in seven districts, providing emergency relief in the form of supplementary food – sacks of Famix, a high-protein, ready-to-eat mix of whole roasted corn and soy flour – and edible (cooking) oil. ChildFund’s local partners are also supporting the government to provide blankets, sheets and mattresses to help health centres in some of the areas to handle the growing demand as more and more children need treatment.

 

With the drought and resulting food shortage expected to continue well into 2016, a total USD $21 million (approx. NZD $32 million) is now urgently needed to provide a six-month supply of emergency food rations for 300,000 people in eight districts where ChildFund works, covering the purchase of grain, pulses and cooking oil, as well as transport costs. Out of this, USD $5 million (approx. NZD $7.6 million) will provide supplementary food and cooking oil for the 100,000 people who are most vulnerable, with a particular focus on preventing and treating malnutrition in young children.

 

ChildFund has worked in Ethiopia for more than 40 years and is deeply committed to continuing progress for children’s wellbeing and development, says Paul Brown.

 

“In recent years, the Ethiopian government has worked hard to build the nation’s economy and infrastructure. We must provide help now, so that Ethiopia can continue this progress in the future, and children in this developing nation can have the best possible start in life.”

 

More than 1,000 Kiwi families sponsor 1,132 children in Ethiopia, and last year donated thousands of dollars in additional funds to support food aid and relief efforts.

 

Donate here to help feed vulnerable children in Ethiopia or call 0800 223 111

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