Ethiopia

8 million people at risk, Oxfam grants HK$ 1 million to Ethiopia drought

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A sustained drought across Ethiopia has left 8 million people facing shortages of food and water. The worst conditions are in south east Ethiopia where 1.3 million people are affected and almost 600,000 people are in particular need; more than 400 people have already died.
Ethiopia estimates that 1.2 million metric tonnes (MT) of food aid will be required; only 15,000 MT have arrived so far. In January, the UN appealed for US$10 million of assistance to provide water, healthcare and to help with crops; only US$1 million has been received so far. And these needs are likely to rise.

Since the beginning of 2000, Oxfam has been working to address the threat of famine. Oxfam's assessment team has witnessed many cattle carcasses and dried up wells, rivers and boreholes. Ethiopia urgently needs food, clean water and medical supplies. Some 100,000 MT must be distributed in April but this figure should be increased sharply by June in order to preposition stocks around country before the July rains, which will render many roads impassable.

Oxfam Hong Kong, the international development and relief agency, has made an urgent grant of HK$1,000,000 to provide food and clean water in south east Ethiopia. Oxfam will also monitor the situation and respond further as needed. Oxfam Hong Kong appeals to the public for generous donations. People can donate by:

calling our donation hotline: 2520-2525;

sending cheques (payable to "Oxfam Hong Kong - Ethiopia") to Oxfam Hong Kong, Freepost No.10 (no stamp necessary).

Donations over HK$100 are tax-deductible.

ENDS

For more information and pictures, please contact Phoenix Leung, Communications Coordinator of Oxfam Hong Kong, at 2821-3221 or 9529-0939.

Drought situation in Ethiopia

With three years' drought, Ethiopia is now in crisis. In the Somali region in the south east where most people are herders, livestock became unproductive as grassland has disappeared. Herders not only lack of food, but also water.

Oxfam has sent an assessment team to the Somali region and they saw many cattle carcasses as they passed by. Wells, rivers and boreholes were dried up.

People are migrating from one area to another in the region to search for food and clean water. In Harshin Woreda, the normal population is around 66,468. It grew to 100,000 recently and the water supply became critical. Water is being rationed at 0.14 litres per person per day, less than one third of a can of soft drink.

The Oxfam team met a herder with a family of seven who had been walking for 16 days. On his way, two of his children and 46 of his cattle (66%) had died. The remaining cattle had no access to water and pasture and looked very weak. The team also saw a family had slaughtered one of their weak cows and were drying the meat. This is an act of last resort, as pastoralists normally only kill livestock as part of important ceremonies.

In addition, the health situation is deteriorating. Children, the elderly and women are dying from acute diarrhea, and cases of malnutrition and pneumonia are increasing due to the lack of food and clean water. Therefore, not only food and clean water, but also medical supplies are urgently needed.

ENDS

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