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22.6 mn Ethiopians food insecure due to drought, conflict, rising prices

Addis Ababa, Feb 4 (IANS) About 22.6 million people in Ethiopia are food insecure due to a combination of drought, conflict and increase in food prices, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has warned.

In its latest situation update, the UNOCHA said that an estimated 11.8 million people are food insecure in the drought-affected areas of Afar, Somali, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) regions, and Dire Dawa city administration, reports Xinhua news agency.

It also warned of the worsening food insecurity among internally displaced persons countrywide.

The UNOCHA said since November 2022, the UN and international non-governmental organisations brought about 114,000 metric tonnes of food into the conflict-affected Tigray region as of January 24.

And as of January 23, partners assisted 16.3 million people in targeted locations across the country, completing round 1 of food distribution.

An estimated 15.5 million people received food under round 2, and close to 8.1 million in round 3, which commenced in 2022.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian response in Ethiopia has been scaled up with additional corridors opening and some hard-to-reach areas becoming more accessible.

It, however, said certain areas of the county face disease outbreaks, including cholera, malaria, and measles, where partners are taking preventative and remedial actions.

The UNOCHA said the drought situation has deprived many vulnerable people of their livelihoods, increasing health risks if not already affected by malnutrition, and putting hundreds of thousands of children out of school, while insecurity and conflict in western parts of the country continue to displace more people.