8.5 million people are suffering from crop failure and are threatened by hunger.
At the end of 2015 parts of Ethiopia were affected by the most severe drought and crop failure since 30 years. Still the situation is very difficult. In the beginning of 2016 the United Nations estimated that 10 million people will be affected and in need for food aid. According to the United Nations, the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance has increased from 5.6 million to 7.78 million in the first quarter of the year 2017. In the second half of 2017 the number of people who will require relief food assistance has further increased to 8.5 million. (Source: UN OCHA, Humanitarian Bulletin)
In November 2015 Menschen für Menschen started an emergency aid programme in Agarfa southeasterly of the capital Addis Abeba. This region lies outside of our normal project areas.
Report on the start of the emergency aid programme by Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF):
About 32,000 people in the region of Agarfa have been receiving urgently needed basic foods.
Each person received 15 kg of grains, 1.5 kg of legumes and 0.45 kg of cooking oil. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants also receive Famix, a nutrient-rich food supplement.
After the first rainfalls in the middle of 2016 the situation has improved and people started to sow seeds. Also in Agarfa the situation became better. Unfortunately the rainfalls stopped again with the consequence that there was no harvest in many of the affected regions. Due to poor performing spring rains in 2017 people are still in need of food aid. Currently an estimated 24.500 people in Agarfa require relief food assistance. (May 2017)
Quick help is important!
Menschen für Menschen provides emergency aid in addition to the long-term work in the project regions.Therefore additional financial funds are necessary. “Menschen für Menschen is financed by private donors”, so Rupert Weber.”Only through the quick support of our austrian donors and our partners RED CHAIRity, an initiative of the XXXLutz Group the emergency aid for 32.000 people was possible. We want to thank all of them for their trust in our work and their substantial support.
Start of the Emergency Aid – a Report from Agarfa
On 30 November 2015 emergency aid in the region of Agarfa has started. The region is actually known for its high wheat production. But in some areas of the region it has not really rained for two years. Many farmers say they have sown seeds for the third time already – without any success.
On the way to Makala, where the Menschen für Menschen distribution centre is set up, it becomes obvious how dramatic the situation is. The slopes are full of dried up fields.
Whenever something did grow the plants have wasted away. Maize plants are only waist-high and hardly bear any fruit. The ears of the measly wheat are empty.
A total of 28,000 people in the Agarfa region will be given food aid; initially for a period of four months. In Makala, the first place we visit, 6,000 of 6,024 inhabitants require food aid. The remaining 24 inhabitants have long moved to the highlands, where they are supported by relatives.
The people in Makala are particularly affected by the drought. There is hardly any water left here. The vestigial fields are left to the few animals that the farmers have not had to sell yet.
It becomes clear that the situation is precarious. Not helping now means risking people’s lives. Families receive wheat, peas and oil. A standard packet recommended by the United Nations’ World Food Programme. In addition there is nutrient-rich Famix, which supplies infants and pregnant and nursing women with additional calories.
Grains and legumes were bought in Bale Robe, near Agarfa, following an open tender; Famix from the manufacturing company Fafa Food in Addis Ababa. Cooking oil enriched with valuable vitamins was also bought in Addis Ababa, from Mojo Edible Oil Factory.
The food is stored in the city of Agarfa – the storage rooms are made available to Menschen für Menschen free of charge. From there it is distributed to three further sites in the region, and from there to a total of 28 communities.
Menschen für Menschen draws on its own infrastructure. The food is brought to the affected regions with the organisation’s lorries and distributed on site by Ethiopian employees. A concept that proved successful during the 2011 hunger catastrophe. This way we can ensure that aid arrives where it is needed the most.
Each person will receive 15 kg of grains, 1.5 kg of legumes and 0.45 kg of cooking oil. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants also receive Famix, a nutrient-rich food supplement.
Everyone who receives a food ration is registered. During the distribution the collection is noted, i.e. it has to be confirmed with a signature or fingerprint. Food is distributed on a monthly basis.
Menschen für Menschen provides emergency aid in addition to the long-term work in the project regions. This means that reserves need to be drawn on for this emergency aid.
For two months Menschen für Menschen will finance the emergency food aid from reserves. Two more months of food aid are made possible through the support of RED CHAIRity, an initiative of the XXXLutz Group. We want to thank RED CHAIRity for their trust in our work and their substantial support.