- Government announces new aid to save the lives of mothers and babies in Ethiopia as UK warns of growing risk of humanitarian catastrophe;
- The funding comes as the UK’s Development and Africa Minister, Andrew Mitchell, returns from a 2-day visit to the country, witnessing the humanitarian crisis first-hand;
- UK calls on the international community to step up efforts to prevent a major crisis.
LONDON, England – More than three million Ethiopians, including mothers and babies, will receive lifesaving help from the UK through a new humanitarian aid programme and further support for the Tigray region. The uplift has been announced by UK minister for development and Africa Andrew Mitchell following a 2-day visit to Ethiopia.
While in Ethiopia, Mitchell set out a series of actions the UK is taking to help stem the worsening tide. He announced a new UK fund worth £100 million for Ending Preventable Deaths that is targeted on children, particularly children under the age of 5, and also on pregnant and post-natal women.
The programme will help more than three million Ethiopians, mostly women and children, access essential health services. The funding will increase, among other things, access to family planning support, medicines, and childhood vaccinations.
In addition, emergency funding will help 75 health centres tackle malnutrition and other preventable causes of death such as malaria and cholera.
Across northern Ethiopia, millions of people are facing hunger. War and climate change have crippled crop production and driven people off their lands. The conflict in Tigray has left more than 1 million people displaced. The combination of conflict and failed harvests in northern Ethiopia have plunged over 3 million into a state of critical food security and hunger. Millions more people are in need, with women and young children in particular, severely affected.
The minister for development and Africa, Mitchell, said:
“The crisis is a wake-up call to the world. Food shortages are at a critical level. War has displaced people and decimated vital infrastructure. Climate change and El Nino have fuelled local exoduses with 400,000 displaced in the Somali region of Ethiopia as of last December.
“Millions are trapped in displacement, hunger and need. As ever the most vulnerable people, particularly women and children, are the first to be hit.
“The international community needs to come to Ethiopia’s side and work with our friends in the government and international partners to halt and reverse this crisis. In a region that has experienced the horrors of famine in the past, we must ramp up international efforts to avert a major crisis in the near future. We need to act fast and act now.”
The government and international donors are responding to the needs of 6.6 million people. But as the minister has warned, the number of critically food insecure people is growing rapidly and will reach 10.8 million in the coming months.
Mitchell stressed that while the UK is taking positive action which will save lives on the ground, its efforts alone will not be sufficient to contain the crisis, and that urgent cooperation with international partners and agencies and government will be necessary to prevent the worst.
Meeting with the government of Ethiopia, he also discussed the UK’s humanitarian commitment to Ethiopia, to women and girls, ending internal conflict, and issues affecting regional stability, including the recent Memorandum of Understanding between Ethiopia and the Somaliland authorities on access to the Red Sea.