Six Million Children Threatened By Drought In Ethiopia

Six Million Children Threatened By Drought In Ethiopia

Severe drought in Ethiopia threatens up to six million children, the United Nations children's agency warned on Tuesday.

"Up to six million children under five years of age are living in impoverished, drought-prone districts and require continuation of urgent preventive health and nutrition interventions," UNICEF said in a statement.

The agency added that 126,000 children were already suffering from severe malnutrition and needed urgent therapeutic care.

In addition to some eight million people characterised as "food insecure" and supported by a government programme, aid agencies are warning that over 3.4 million people require food aid in several central and southern regions.

"Widespread drought, poor rainy seasons, heavy loss of livestock, limited food supply and soaring prices of food, fuel and fertilizer linked to the global food crisis are contributing to the troubled outlook of children in Ethiopia," the statement added.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said it was seeking 147 million dollars (94 million euros) to tackle a shortage of 183,000 metric tons of food to meet the country's needs.

The appeal includes 29 million dollars required to fill gaps in provisions of "blended food", a mix of soya and corn powder for malnourished children.

"The mechanisms and capacity to prevent and respond to the increase of severe acute malnutrition are in place but are under resourced," Bjorn Ljungqvist, UNICEF representative in Ethiopia, was quoted as saying.

UNICEF had recently hailed Ethiopia as "exemplary" for its efforts in curbing infant mortality rates.

"Ethiopia has some great gains in curbing child mortality, but they would be completely wiped out by events like this," Viviane Van Steirteghem, UNICEF's deputy representative, told AFP.
This is heartbreaking. Not only because this is happening to children, but because it is totally preventable. There are no longer any words to express my outrage at what is going on in this world. I cannot fathom the total lack of tolerance, intelligence, and planning on the part of governments. I cannot tolerate the absolute disregard for human beings by other human beings, and the conditions we exacerbate still knowing full well what is causing them with the ability to stop them. How does one who cares so deeply for the children of this world read something like this and not feel helpless?

These poor people are kept in total poverty for the benefit of organizations like The World Bank, and yes, even the UN, and I find it appalling. For all of the talk we hear year after year after year about eradicating poverty, famine, and water scarcity and pollution which are causing the diseases plaguing the developing world, we get little to no results in addressing it. For all of the money thrown at it we get little to no results.

This is simply so pervasive and so overwhelming in scope that it is beyond human comprehension. We as a species will never be able to live down what we have done to despoil not only this planet but our own species and those that have no voice. And the children... the innocent children who have known nothing but hunger, disease, and despair. What of them? Where is their hope? Where is their food? Where is their water? Where is the education to show them how to plant and build a life for themselves instead of depending on The World Bank and other bloodsucking organizations that loan them money they can never repay back thus keeping the cycle of poverty and inequality going round? Are they to now only be the focus of the media just to get ratings?

All I can say is, thanks to organizations like Doctors Without Borders these children will at least have a chance to get proper medical care and food. I have come to conclusion however, that governments around this world for all their talk are simply too corrupt, selfish, and inadequate to address the crises we face adequately with the moral fortitude necessary to conquer them.

NO CHILD IN THIS WORLD SHOULD GO HUNGRY OR THIRSTY. And to think we have all we need to make sure that doesn't happen but yet it still does is a shameful reflection on all of us.

Drought In Ethiopia/NASA Earth Observatory

As this map shows, this drought is pervasive and sustained.


Brian Mahoney said…
Hi, my name is Brian Mahoney and I'm writing on behalf of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, a non-profit news organization that promotes in-depth coverage of under-reported international issues. We enjoy your site and have noticed your reports on water scarcity in Africa.

We were wondering if you could post the following information on one of your blogs about a contest we are holding regarding this topic.

We are sponsoring the Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices contest on, an online writing website.The contest is calling for independent voices to answer questions based on our international reporting. Our latest contest has a question that might interest you and your readership. The question is:

How is the struggle for water, such as in Ethiopia and Kenya, shaping conflicts in this century?

The deadline to enter is May 30. To enter, visitors can just click on a question above and submit an essay to Helium. Essays will be judged by other Helium users and staff here at the Pulitzer Center.

We really appreciate the work you do and your efforts to promote sustainable development raise awareness on water scarcity. Please let your visitors and any other individuals know about this opportunity to get their thoughts heard on this pressing question by posting a short blurb on your blog. Thanks so much for passing this on and please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

We would also appreciate if you added us to your links section, if possible.

Thanks so much-


Brian Mahoney
Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Ste. 615
Washington, DC 20036