August 2, 2011

Children in Urban Ethiopia Also Affected By Drought

Filed under: Ethiopia,Meles Zenawi — ethiopiantimes @ 10:18 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

By brendanwilde

The drought in rural Ethiopia is having a serious impact on poor families in urban Ethiopia. The shortage of agricultural production has pushed up the price of food in the capital Addis Ababa. Wheat is around 80 percent more expensive than a year ago.

“Malnutrition happens in Addis Ababa when single mothers and low income families cannot cope with the increasing food prices,” explains Meaza Molla, Nutrition Programme Coordinator at a Plan-supported feeding centre in the city. Plan works with a partner organization to tackle child malnutrition.

Emebet is 22 and lives with her husband and six-month old baby in Addis Ababa. She used to work as a street vendor selling ‘qollo’ (roasted barley) before her baby, Mikias, was born. “After I gave birth I stopped working to care for my child. My husband, who is disabled, makes money by begging near churches. We depend on what my husband makes”.

With so little income Emebet was not eating enough and could not produce enough milk to feed Mikias. Health workers stepped in and encouraged her to attend a feeding centre to supplement her diet. “Now, I receive nutrition-rich food at the feeding centre and also take home flour, edible oil and milk to make porridge. As my baby is already six months old, he has started taking supplementary food and milk at the feeding centre. It has been four weeks since we started coming and we are both already becoming stronger and healthier,” explains Emebet.
An everyday experience

Meaza Molla says this centre is currently helping around 350 malnourished children and breast-feeding mothers. “For me it is an everyday experience to see crying mothers coming to our centre desperately seeking food for their children as they cannot afford the present high price of food. Mothers benefiting from our centre are mostly street vendors, labourers and commercial sex workers who cannot make enough income to feed their children.”

PlanUK needs your help

To help families recover in the long term Plan will provide seeds and livestock and increase the availability of water through wells and boreholes. If you are in a position to do more why not find out how you can sponsor a child in Africa.


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