Ethiopia’s eastern lowlands bordering Somalia are suffering through a severe drought. The rainy season was late and not enough, causing devastating losses among local livestock herds. Coming on the heels of two previous dry years in Ethiopia, the drought of 2017 compounded an already serious humanitarian situation in the country. As a result, numerous households in the country’s Somali region are experiencing chronic food insecurity and concerning rates of malnutrition.
The United States, Ethiopia’s largest donor of emergency and development aid, continues to deliver a large-scale humanitarian response. In late August, USAID Administrator Mark Green announced that in order to help alleviate the dire humanitarian situation, the United States will deliver 91 million dollars in additional humanitarian assistance for those Ethiopians who are even now struggling with severe food insecurity and malnutrition.
“This funding will provide additional emergency food assistance and vital medical care,” he said.
A day earlier, Mr. Green announced that Ethiopia had been chosen as one of a dozen countries that will participate in the second phase of the Feed the Future Initiative. This 7-year old program aims to reduce global hunger, poverty, and undernutrition by focusing on smallholder farmers, increasing investments in agriculture, and supporting country-owned plans for improving food security and nutrition while generating opportunities for economic growth and trade. In this way, the United States hopes to help strengthen Ethiopia’s resilience to climactic shocks.
“I don’t view development in humanitarian assistance as a gift or a handout. I view it as a hand up,” said USAID Administrator Green.
“I believe passionately in the dignity of each and every human being; I believe that every human being wants to build a brighter future for him or herself and children. And that every country wants to lead itself into a brighter future. We want to help people stand on their own two feet and build their own futures, and that’s what I hope our assistance can play a useful role in,” he said.
“USAID is committed to helping Ethiopia leverage its human and economic capital, and to harness the power of Ethiopian farms and entrepreneurs to create a more economically prosperous and food-secure Ethiopia.”