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UN worried over drought affected regions of Ethiopia

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UN humanitarians said on Wednesday they are increasingly concerned about the deteriorating situation in the drought-affected north of Ethiopia, including the Afar, Amhara, Oromia and Tigray regions.

“We need to scale up the response to support 4 million people in these regions as the already severe drought situation is worsening,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. “Multiple and often overlapping crises have severely weakened people’s ability to cope with climate shocks such as drought.”

OCHA said millions are vulnerable to falling even further into severe need and poverty. Humanitarian partners support the government with minimal funding in a challenging environment, particularly amid active hostilities in the Amhara and Oromia regions. The office said humanitarians reached more than 12 million people with aid between January and November 2023. “We now have the opportunity to prevent a further deterioration with an urgent scale-up of the response,” OCHA said, noting that more funds are needed.

The 4-billion-U.S. dollar humanitarian response plan for Ethiopia for 2023 was just one-third funded. The 2024 appeal is being finalized, it said. The two-year-long Tigray-based civil war that ended in November 2022 took a heavy toll on the three northernmost regions and, to a lesser degree, the vast Oromia region. The latest severe drought affecting all four regions began in 2021 and lasted into 2023. Less than a year after the Tigray war ended, conflict erupted in neighboring Amhara. Oromia insurgents are also contesting federal control in much of the region.

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