Nightmare in Ethiopia As Millions Starve | Opinion
Both sides in Ethiopia’s civil war must stop the violence and allow food aid to reach everyone in need. Michael Dunford of the U.N. World Food Program pleaded, “It is absolutely vital that we have the full cooperation and support of all parties to the conflict so that we can reach all affected populations with urgently needed food assistance before we have a humanitarian catastrophe on our hands across all of northern Ethiopia
The hunger crisis in Ethiopia also extends beyond the northern conflict zone in Tigray. People have fled to the Afar and Amhara regions and need food assistance. Ethiopia is also suffering from drought, flooding, desert locust invasions, high food prices and the COVID-19 pandemic. All these tragedies have come at once and are contributing to a massive countrywide hunger emergency.
The World Food Program (WFP) said nearly 12 million people need food aid throughout Ethiopia. WFP does not have enough resources right now to provide relief in Ethiopia. The WFP said, “For all activities under its Country Strategic Plan, WFP has a funding shortfall of US$426 million. Additional funding is vital to allow WFP to keep saving and changing lives in Ethiopia.”
The 1984 Newsweek article emphasized the importance of taking action before it’s too late. Famine conditions don’t leave much time for those at risk. Donations must be timely to keep the pipeline of food moving. This must happen today in Ethiopia to save lives.
A WFP food distribution area in the Afar region of Ethiopia where civilians have fled the fighting in Tigray. More funding is needed to keep up with the growing humanitarian crisis.CLAIRE NEVILL/WFP
Also, as was the case in 1984, there are multiple African nations facing severe hunger including South Sudan, Burkina Faso and Madagascar. Donors will need to step up to ensure there is enough food supplies to prevent famine. Everyone can help by donating to WFP, Save the Children, CARE, UNICEF and other relief agencies feeding the hungry in Ethiopia. You can write to your representative in Congress asking them to support food aid for Ethiopia.
The USDA McGovern-Dole program and WFP are partnering to provide school meals in parts of Ethiopia, including the Afar region. These meals are a lifeline for hungry children, giving them the strength to stay in school.
Children and mothers are at risk of malnutrition after fleeing the conflict in Tigray to camps like this one at Um Rakuba in Sudan.JOOST BASTMEIJER/WFP/ARETE
Children in Ethiopia are going to need school meals, including those who have been displaced by the conflict. We should boost funding for McGovern-Dole and other food aid programs so they can help more children.
The world cannot turn away from Africa’s new nightmare of famine and war. Failure to act will cost lives. We must bring food and peace to the starving people of Ethiopia now.
William Lambers is an author who partnered with the U.N. World Food Program on the book Ending World Hunger. His writings have been published by The New York Times, History News Network, Newsweek and many other outlets.