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Government of Ethiopia committed to contain El Niño effect

The Government of Ethiopia is working hard to contain the consequences of the El Niño effect. The strategy of the Government to avoid any catastrophe is based both on internal resource mobilization and on international cooperation. These two levers will help ensuring the consequences of the drought remain under control and will also prevent calamities for the population living in the affected areas.

As soon as the first sign of drought were reported by early warning mechanisms, the Government mobilized internal resources to face the consequences and support the  population. The Ethiopian Government has so far extended more than ETB 2 billion (around EUR 87 million) for the affected areas, has pledged 450,000 metric tons of wheat and has the plan to further secure a total of one million metric tons. Excess of agricultural productions in the southern parts of the country have been distributed to the affected regions.

In addition, the Government of Ethiopia will continue to use funds from the Federal reserve and Regional states to address the risks caused by the El Niño effect. Support by the international community will also be vital to avoid negative consequences of the drought, especially if the phenomenon is set to continue during the next months.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the current drought is the worse Ethiopia has seen in decades. However, the country has acquired a strong resilience capacity for shocks related to drought and food shortages. In the last years, the Government allotted 70 percent of public capital to pro-poor sectors, principally agriculture, which had the consequence to reduce poverty in the country by 33 percent since 2000.

Moreover, during the last decade, the size of the road network to connect farmers to markets and emergency responders to remote villages doubled. Programs such as the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) further help increase food resilience of families.

On 12 October, the Government of Ethiopia had announced that the number of people in need of relief assistance in Ethiopia due to El Niño phenomenon had increased to 8.2 million, from 4.55 million in August. Affected areas include southern Tigray, eastern Amhara, Afar, and Siti zone of Somali region, eastern SNNP, East and West Hararge, Arsi and West Arsi, and lower Bale zones of Oromia. El Niño weather conditions weakened rains last spring and summer and is expected to affect the first months of 2016.

The Brussels Times