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Tearfund launches emergency appeal for Ethiopia as hunger crisis deepens

30 June 2023

Peter Caton/Tearfund 

Jarso, aged 22, with his remaining goats. After losing his cows to a long drought, his family are left with a few goats

Jarso, aged 22, with his remaining goats. After losing his cows to a long drought, his family are left with a few goats

AN EMERGENCY appeal has been launched for Ethiopia, where the ongoing hunger crisis has deepened, with 20 million people now estimated to be going hungry.

The Christian charity Tearfund is appealing for funds for the country to buy food and livestock that will survive drought as the impact of climate change worsens in the region.

The country has suffered almost three years of drought, and, when long-awaited rains arrived in March, they caused flash flooding, washing away livestock and any remaining crops.

Tearfund told the story of one family, Loko, and her husband, Jarso, who are reduced to selling the firewood they gather to raise money to feed their children. Loko said: “This is a final option; we must not die sitting down, and when the conditions are so harsh, what else can you do apart from whatever you can to feed your child?”

Tearfund’s country director in Ethiopia, Simba Nyamarezi, said: “For rural communities who rely on farming, the drought has made their way of life impossible. It also means that, when the rains do come, the land struggles to absorb the water like it used to. This leads to flash flooding, as the water has nowhere to go. Homes and what little crops or cattle are left are washed away. There are some techniques that we can offer to improve farming outcomes, but the situation is very serious, and we need more resources.

“Tearfund is supporting its partners in the region to provide unconditional cash support for essential needs such as food and medicine. After this, they will provide cash to help them buy livestock so they can stabilise the situation. The scale of this crisis is huge, and urgently needs more support and prayer.”

In the Horn of Africa, the United Nations estimates that 60 million people are urgently in need of humanitarian aid, including five million children under the age of five who are facing acute malnutrition.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that their clinics were seeing the highest level of severely malnourished children since the hunger crisis began three years ago.

It said that, since flash flooding occurred, it was also seeing the highest number of reported disease outbreaks so far this century. Liesbeth Aelbrecht, WHO’s incident manager for the greater Horn of Africa emergency, said that there were now high numbers of cholera, malaria, and measles cases.

Tearfund’s appeal is at: tearfund.org

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