- Red Cross has launched a revised emergency appeal for Ethiopia to US $7.9 million to address worsening humanitarian crisis in drought-hit southern Ethiopia.
The appeal which was initially allocated only US$ 288,462 is aimed at supporting Ethiopian Red Cross Society in assisting more than 76,000 people severely affected by drought in southern Wolaiyta region for next six months.
"We must step up our response," said Lorenzo Violante, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' drought operations manager in Addis Ababa.
An aid operation had started in May to help 40,000 people in southern Ethiopian village of Damot Pulasa, but it has now been expanded to help another 36,000 people in neighbouring Damot Gale.
Recent food prices hike and poor rain season in southern and eastern parts of Ethiopia, which are country's agricultural sites have resulted in serious food shortages in the country which led to food prices increase to around 300% in Ethiopia.
"Over the past two months situation has worsened and living conditions have deteriorated. People have exhausted all their resources and are unable to feed themselves," said Mr Violante.
"Food prices have risen after a year of adverse climatic events. Floods in 2007 and water logging caused by Meher rains destroyed most of maize, millet, wheat, haricot and teff root crops," IFRC said.
"There are more than 16,000 acutely malnourished children in Southern Ethiopian villages of Damot Gale and Damot Pulasa," Fasika Kebede, Secretary General of the Ethiopian Red Cross, said.
"The situation can only deteriorate if we are not able to intervene efficiently," Kebede added.
Currently, food and seed distributions are underway in the two regions but more help is needed, appeals have emphasised. The revised appeal will allow procurement and distribution of 10,000 sheep as well as agricultural tools to prevent further damage to people's livelihoods.
UN has been providing solid assistance to help Ethiopia address its current challenge. The Horn of African country has a history of the world's worst famine that killed a million Ethiopians in October 1984.
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