By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
An estimated 5.6 million people in Ethiopia are in dire need of emergency relief supplies following drought in several parts of the country inhabited mainly by cattle herders, according to an Ethiopian government official.
Molla Mitiku, head of the Disaster Risk Management Commission, told Anadolu Agency over the phone that areas in south Somali, Borena, Guji and Bale in Oromia as well as South Omo zones had been severely affected by lack of rain. Most of the rest of the country has witnessed normal harvests signaling an end to the El Nino-induced drought that took a heavy toll on cattle during the 2015 crop seasons, Mitiku said.
The figure shows a 44 percent drop from last year when 10.2 million people suffered from what experts termed as the worst drought in the country in 50 years.
“We have already begun response to the pastoral communities affected, supplying them with water, fodder and seeds,” Mitiku said.
“We dispatched an international assessment team to the affected areas and the report already came in showing that 5.6 million people are in need of emergency assistance,” he said.
Some $929.9 million are needed to mitigate the situation, he added.