NAIROBI, May 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hunger is
likely to reach emergency levels in Ethiopia and the number in
need of food aid will rise beyond the current 7.7 million,
experts said, as drought has decimated livestock, rains have
been erratic and aid is in short supply.
Prolonged drought, followed by floods, has pushed millions
across East Africa into crisis, with 7 million in neighbouring
Somalia also needing aid, the United Nations said as it grapples
with the highest global hunger levels in decades.
"Despite enhanced rainfall at the end of April into early
May over many areas of Ethiopia, food security outcomes are
still expected to deteriorate," the U.S.-based Famine Early
Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) said on Wednesday.
Herders in southeastern Ethiopia will be worst hit over the
next three months, it said, with hunger reaching the fourth
"emergency" level on a five-phase scale, where the fifth level
"The current marginal improvements in pasture and water are
likely to be depleted by early June, which will mean rangeland
resources will rapidly decline, and subsequently livestock body
conditions," it said, with the next rains due in October.
The number of Ethiopians who need food aid surged to 7.7
million from 5.6 million between January and April.
This number is expected to increase in the second half of
the year, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs said this week.
"Increased funding is needed urgently, in particular to
address immediate requirements for clean drinking water, much of
which is being delivered long distances by truck as regular
wells have dried up," it said.
The Trump administration has proposed to drastically cut
U.S. funding for global health and food aid programmes amid
opposition from Congress.
(Reporting by Katy Migiro @katymigiro, editing by Alisa Tang.
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