Save the Children International (SCI) has called on donors to provide more funds to urgently meet the needs of children and their families battling malnutrition in Ethiopia.
The humanitarian organisation said in a recent statement that about 185,000 children across east and southeastern Ethiopia were suffering from the deadliest form of malnutrition.
According to SCI, malnutrition rates in the country have soared in recent months as the impact of severe drought, widespread displacement, and ongoing conflict continue to take its toll on the country.
Extreme malnutrition is expected to worsen in the coming months in Ethiopia as food prices continue to rise as a result of the devaluation of the Ethiopian birr, while livestock also continues to be devalued due to the devastating drought.
‘Children, especially small children, are bearing the brunt of a harrowing and multifaceted crisis in Ethiopia’, SCI Country Director in Ethiopia, Xavier Joubert, said.
‘A prolonged, expanding, and debilitating drought is grinding away at their resilience, already worn down by a gruelling conflict and two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Sadly, in 2022, the crisis in Ethiopia grew in complexity and scale. In the south and the east, prolonged drought is devastating lives and livelihoods; in the north, millions of displaced families barely have access to food, health services, livelihoods; and in the southwest, a hidden conflict is displacing hundreds of thousands.
‘Families who have fled drought or conflict have left with very little, some only with their children and clothes on their backs. Though some families are returning home, they find their houses, hospitals, and schools damaged or destroyed, and their livelihoods lost’.
Across the south and eastern parts of the country, about 8.1 million people are said to be impacted by the prolonged drought, which is one of the worst in history in the Horn of Africa.
In the Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia, one of the worst affected by the drought, malnutrition rates over the past 12 months have risen by 64 percent, with an increase of 43 percent between January and April 2022 alone.
Cumulative cases of severe acute malnutrition – the most deadly form of malnutrition in children – reached nearly 50,000 in the same three months.
It is estimated that 30 million people across the country, including 12 million children, are currently in need of life-saving assistance.
Source: Save the Children
Photo source: UNICEF Ethiopia