Ethiopia calls for international help as drought bites

Prime Minister Hailemariam Deselegn says food aid provided so far has been too little, too late.

    Ethiopia calls for international help as drought bites
    The Ethiopian appeal is the third largest in the world after those for Syria and Yemen. [File photo: Katy Migiro/Reuters]

    Ethiopia's leader has urged the world to donate more towards food aid he says is needed to fight a drought that has left more than 10 million people hungry.

    Aid agencies and the government said they must raise more than $1.4bn of aid, but that only about half of that amount has been collected.

    The emergency appeal is the third largest in the world after those for Syria and Yemen.

    Ethiopia "should not be neglected by any means despite all the other crises that are going on elsewhere in the world," Prime Minister Hailemariam Deselegn told the Associated Press news agency in an interview.

    Ethiopia drought puts 400,000 children's lives at risk

    The US has been the biggest donor, giving more than $532m in humanitarian aid to the country since October 2014.

    The Ethiopian government has also spent about $380m of its own money.

    "My country deserves more support because we are also sheltering some 750,000 refugees from neighbouring countries that need food aid," Hailemariam said, referring to the fact that the Horn of Africa nation hosts a large number of mainly South Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali refugees.

    "If something goes wrong, it is the international community who has not come in. The aid provided to us so far is very little and it often came very late. I urge organisations like UNICEF to come in if they think this is a worst case scenario. Just talking is not a solution."

    The drought was brought on a result of the the El Nino climate phenomenon that affected seasonal rains, causing crops to fail and livestock to die.

    Ethiopia was devastated by a drought in the 1980s that - exacerbated by a civil war - killed hundreds of thousands of people and brought the country global attention.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.