Another famine could threaten Ethiopia

Another famine could threaten Ethiopia


"Ethiopia is in the grip of a devastating drought sparked by the worst El Niño in a generation, and aid agencies warn that food aid could run out as soon as May.

Unlike in the past, the government and aid groups have kept food shipments flowing to areas ravaged by drought in recent months. But they need more money, at a time when international donors are distracted by a string of humanitarian disasters around the world.

Ethi­o­pia burned itself into the West’s collective memory with the horrific famines of 1973 and 1984, when hundreds of thousands starved to death and images of dying children appeared on the world’s television screens.

Since that time, the government has struggled to shed this image of the world’s charity case by turning Ethiopia into Africa’s new economic juggernaut, with a decade of 10 percent annual growth. Barring natural disasters, the country is also practically self-sufficient in food.

There has also been a concerted effort in cooperation with international aid agencies to create safety nets to ensure that the kind of famine that inspired the 1985 Live Aid concert would never happen again.

These days, early warning systems alert the government when famine threatens, and in 2015, these kicked into action after the spring and summer rains failed, leaving herders trapped in desert pastures and farmers with extensive crop failures across the north and east of the country."

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