Ethiopia: UN Raises U.S.$600 Million for Ethiopia, Falls Short of Target

A UN-led event to secure donations to address Ethiopia’s humanitarian crisis fell short of its $1 billion target. The East African country has been hit by conflict and extreme weather in recent years.

A United Nations-led donor conference in Geneva raised almost $630 million (€592 million) on Tuesday to assist millions of Ethiopians impacted by climate change and conflict.

“The humanitarian situation in Ethiopia is critical — but there is a window to act right now to break the downward spiral,” the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

However, the funds raised fell short of the $1 billion urgently needed, according to the UN, to tackle the crisis in Africa’s second-largest country where over 21 million people require assistance amid an escalating food shortage.

‘Humanitarian situation very fragile’

According to OCHA, “cycles of droughts and floods, and conflict” contributed to the escalating situation in the African country.

A two-year war that erupted in November 2020 in the northern Tigray region killed thousands, displaced millions, and created famine-like conditions, leaving a sizable part of the population dependent on humanitarian aid.

“The emergency has been building up through cycles of droughts and floods, and conflict,” OCHA said in a statement. “Food insecurity and malnutrition is expected to peak at 10.8 million people during the July-September lean season. Some 4.5 million people have fled their homes and there is rising concern for the provision of public health and protection.”

“El Nino has exacerbated a drought in the northern highlands and millions of people are coping with less water, drier pastures and smaller harvests,” it added. “Malnutrition rates in parts of Afar, Amhara, Tigray and other regions are of great concern and continuing to worsen.”

“We have millions and millions of people in Ethiopia facing very severe food insecurity,” USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman told AFP news agency, adding that the humanitarian situation there “remains very, very fragile.”

Ethiopia overshadowed by other crises

In all, 21 countries pledged support with the United States leading the way with $253 million, followed by the UK with $125. The European Union member states pledged more than $139 million combined.

The UK said Ethiopia risks being “overshadowed by other humanitarian crises globally.”

The US also said on Tuesday that it was providing $154 million in humanitarian assistance to address “urgent needs

resulting from conflict, insecurity, and climate shocks,” the State Department said.

Donors also urged the Ethiopian government to ensure aid delivery without interference. Last year the US Agency for International Development stopped all food aid to Ethiopia for several months after an internal investigation found widespread diversion.

ss/ab (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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