Millions of the poorest, most vulnerable people in Ethiopia are once again at risk of starvation. Elderly men and women, weak and desperate, wait for food and water; malnourished children lie dying; livestock, bones protruding, perish.
According to a statement issued by the World Food Programme (WFP) on 6th February, over 10 million of the most vulnerable require urgent humanitarian assistance. This figure was published in the Joint Government and Humanitarian Partners’ Document (HRD) in December last year, and does not take into account the seven and a half million people who annually receive support from Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme – PSNP, (established in 2005 to enable, “the rural poor facing chronic food insecurity to resist shocks, create assets and become food self- sufficient), taking the total in need to almost 18 million. The worst affected areas, according to USAID, are the pastoral areas of Afar and Ogaden Region – where people rely totally on their livestock – and the agricultural lowlands of East and West Haraghe – close to the capital Addis Ababa.