More than eight million people in Ethiopia need emergency food aid following a severe drought that has hit parts of the country, according to the government and UN.
This is more than double the number of people who needed help two months ago, according to a joint report by the UN’s Humanitarian agency (Ocha) and the Ethiopian government.
The figure could rise to 15 million by 2016, the UN says.Millions of Ethiopians were affected by a severe regional drought in 2011. AFP
The drought follows two seasons of failed rains, compounded by the El Nino effect, a phenomenon caused by variations in ocean temperatures which can create extreme weather, the reports says.
The worst affected areas are the northern, central and eastern regions where 8.2 million people are facing food shortages.
The country’s meteorological agency has warned that strong rains in parts of the country may now destroy harvests and further worsen the situation.
Thirty years ago, Ethiopia faced one of the worst famines to ever hit the country but has recovered to emerge as one of Africa’s fastest growing economies.