About 3.2 million Ethiopians will need food and other emergency assistance during the first half of 2012, the Ethiopian government said Thursday.
Agriculture State Minister Mitiku Kassa said that, in addition to food, assistance was needed for water, sanitation, agriculture and education sectors.
The number needing assistance is down from last year, according to a report in Saturday’s edition of Brunei News.
The government estimated 4.5 million needed assistance last year.
“Periodic shocks such as droughts and heavy rains can add immediate crisis to chronic difficulties linked to high poverty levels, dependence on rain-fed agriculture, low availability of safe drinking water, poor hygiene and sanitation, and inadequate disease surveillance,” UNICEF reported. “As a result, children and women, especially pregnant women and children with poor nutritional status, are at higher risk of deathn 2011, UNICEF goals for Ethiopia were:
Six million children will be healthier because they will receive a series of essential child survival interventions, including nutritional screening and referral (with management of severe acute malnutrition for 210,000 children), vitamin A supplementation and deworming.
600,000 pregnant and lactating women will receive nutritional screening, and those who are undernourished will be referred for supplementary feeding.
Many rural and remote communities lack ready access to essential prevention and care. Mobile health teams will bring such services to 2 million people in Somali region, 90,000 people in Afar region and 302,000 people in the South Omo zone of the SNNP region.
Whether too much rain or not enough, both put access to safe water for drinking, hygiene and sanitation at risk. UNICEF will help 480,000 people in drought- and flood-affected areas maintain access to safe water.
UNICEF will ensure that 210,000 children in flood- and conflict-affected areas can attend child-friendly learning spaces, especially in the Afar, Amhara, Gambella, Oromiya, Somali, SNNP and Tigray regions.
At-risk children are especially vulnerable during times of natural disaster or other upheaval. UNICEF will ensure that child protection structures and mechanisms are in place to prevent and respond to the situation of at least 15,000 out of an estimated 40,000 vulnerable children in the worst-affected regions of Gambella and Somali, including the provision of child-focused social welfare services; additionally, survivors of gender-based violence will be able to tap into a network of necessary services through a stronger referral system.