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UK provides an extra £30m in aid for Ethiopia to fight drought

Visiting Ethiopia, UK minister Nick Hurd says although government response has been impressive, relentless drought is affecting millions of people.
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The UK will provide an extra £30m in aid for Ethiopia, to help those people affected by drought in the country, according to the Department for International Development (DfID).

Half of the cash is earmarked for the UN’S World Food Programme to supply emergency food supplies to around 1.9 million people, while £14m will go to a pooled fund that can be accessed by UN agencies and NGOs providing emergency water and healthcare.

The funding was announced as Nick Hurd, the new international development minister, travelled to Ethiopia in December on his first foreign trip since replacing Grant Shapps, who resigned last month.

Hurd visited a health clinic in the northern Tigray region, and said the number of mothers and children who had squeezed into the rooms demonstrated the severity of the crisis, as well as the effectiveness of services supported by British aid, he said.

“The scale of this is very big and almost certainly too big for the domestic systems the government has set up in a very impressive way since learning all the lessons of droughts in the past,” he said.

The Ethiopian government is in a much stronger position to help its people. However, they need the help of the international community,” he said.

Around £1m from the UK funds will be spent on seconding humanitarian experts to the UN and the Ethiopian government, which have jointly launched an appeal for $1.4bn (£0.92m) for their drought response.

Always prone to droughts, Ethiopia has also been affected by the El Niño weather phenomenon this year. And already difficult conditions are set to worsen in 2016 as meagre stocks from a weak harvest dwindle and the dry spell continues, possibly until June in some areas.

In August this year, the UN said around 4.5 million people in Ethiopia were projected to require assistance after failed rains. That figure has risen steadily since then.

Ethiopia is one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, with nearly double-digit growth every year for the last decade, but failed rains have had devastating consequences for food supplies for its 96 million people, around three-quarters of whom are farmers.

The country has allocated £200m for the crisis, mainly to pay for cereal imports.

Wheat imported by the government will make up the bulk of food aid deliveries in early 2016, until food provided by donors arrives, says David Del Conte, the deputy head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia.

Source: The Guardian

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