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International Help Badly Needed as Drought Outbreak Hits Ethiopia, Prime Minister

Ethiopia’s leader has called upon the world rescue agencies to come donate and rescue the Ethiopian population with food aid after the country has been hit by a strong drought that has left 10 million of the population suffering with hunger and it’s negative impacts.

However, aid agencies and the government said they are in need of at least or more than $1.4bn of aid, they also say that about half of that amount has been received from the rescuers and other aid agencies.

The Prime Minister Hailemariam Deselegn before the press in an interview said that the emergency appeal is the third largest in the world after those for Syria and Yemen and Ethiopia "should not be neglected by any means despite all the other crises that are going on elsewhere in the world.

He also said that the US has been the biggest donor, giving more than $532m in humanitarian aid to the country since October 2014 and the Ethiopian government has also spent about $380m of its own money.

"My country deserves more support because we are also sheltering some 750,000 refugees from neighbouring countries that need food aid," Hailemariam said, referring to the fact that the Horn of Africa nation hosts a large number of mainly South Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali refugees.

"If something goes wrong, it is the international community who has not come in. The aid provided to us so far is very little and it often came very late. I urge organisations like UNICEF to come in if they think this is a worst case scenario. Just talking is not a solution." He said.

The drought was brought on a result of the El Nino climate phenomenon that affected seasonal rains, causing crops to fail and livestock to die.
Ethiopia was devastated by a drought in the 1980s that exacerbated by a civil war killed hundreds of thousands of people and brought the country global attention.

By Robert Muriisa.

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