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    EU and UN support Ethiopia in fight against El-Niño effect

    El-Niño is again causing irregular weather patterns around the world. Ethiopia is one of the most affected countries in Africa. The worst drought in decades is threating an estimated population of more than 10 million. Vice President of the European Commission Kristalina Georgieva announced recently (31.1) that the EU has pledged €170 million to support Ethiopia in the fight against the El-Niño effect.

    During a high-level humanitarian round table discussion with Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and other international donors, she said the “Ethiopian government has done a great effort committing $380 million.”

    “The EU itself has committed €170 million in joint humanitarian and development funding; only through a comprehensive action can we tackle a multidimensional, recurrent crisis, but we are not there yet,” Commissioner Georgieva added. “We must all strengthen our commitment. The EU will continue exploring how to strengthen its response. We hope that others will do so.”

    This announcement was made the same day UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Ethiopian high officials and visited the drought-affected areas of the country. During his visit, the Secretary General urged international donors to step up assistance to the country.

    The UN chief underlined that “the Government of Ethiopia has shown remarkable leadership in this drought response. It has made the greatest financial contribution”. The U.N. has issued an international appeal for $ 1.4 billion in emergency funding for Ethiopia, of which less than half has been met by donors.

    Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen urged the international community to give immediate assistance; otherwise this drought may have a negative impact on the development of the country and the peace and stability of the region at large.

    According to the National Drought Resilience and Emergency Commissioner Ato Mituku Kassa, the government of Ethiopia has allocated additional funding to prevent children school drop-out due to the drought through increasing school feeding. Government assistance to the drought-affected populations gives priority to children as well as pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers.

    El Niñois a natural climatic phenomenon that causes equatorial waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean warm every few years. This disrupts regular weather patterns such as monsoons and trade winds, and increases the risk of food shortages, droughts, floods, diseases and forest fires.

    The UN’s World Meteorological Organization warned already last November that the current El Niño is the strongest in more than 15 years and will cause severe droughts and devastating flooding throughout the tropics and sub-tropical zones of the planet. According to its secretary-general Michel Jarraud, the impact of the naturally occurring El Niño is being exacerbated by global warming.

    The Brussels Times