A LIMERICKMAN and chief executive of the children’s charity Plan Ireland has urgently appealed for funds to help the food crisis in Ethiopia.
While famine ravages nearby Somalia, parts of Ethiopia have also been caught up in a devastating food crisis in east Africa, where food inflation is running at over 45 per cent.
Chief executive David Dalton, who is from Raheen, has just returned from a one-month trip to Ethiopia, where he monitored the severe food and drought crisis.
“We’re facing a funding shortfall for our work in Ethiopia and whilst there is undoubtedly a need in Somalia we cannot turn our eyes away from the rest of the Horn of Africa”, said Mr Dalton.
Plan Ireland is now appealing to the international community not to forget Ethiopia, where the charity has a substantial long term presence. People already suffering in the aftermath of failed rains and poor harvests are now finding themselves unable to pay for vital provisions.
Official figures state that over 4.5 million people in the country are in need of emergency food aid in the worst drought for decades.
“The scale of the situation is very hard to get your head around. We are expanding our work into four new areas of the country, to help meet the demands of the food crisis as well as feeding children in places where Plan has long term programmes,” he explained.
The government has listed over three hundred sub-regions, or woredas, where there is food insecurity. “The task here is huge and Plan is working to ensure that our relief efforts reach those who are most vulnerable, particularly children and pregnant and lactating women,” said Mr Dalton.
A poor harvest last year and erratic rains this year mean that families have insufficient food now to take them to the next harvest in November. The initial strategy is to target the families most in need and provide them with Famix, a high protein mix, and fortified vegetable oil.
To help visit www.plan.ie or freephone 1800 829 829.