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UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The World Food Programme (WFP) warned that humanitarian needs in Ethiopia have tripled since the beginning of 2015 as severe drought in some regions, exacerbated by the strongest El Nino in decades, has caused successive harvest failures and widespread livestock deaths, a UN spokesman told reporters here Monday.
Out of 10 million people now requiring urgent humanitarian assistance, WFP is expected to support the government in meeting the needs of 7.6 million people in 2016, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. "Yet so far, less than five percent of the resources required for the first six months of the year are available."
WFP also said that the Ethiopian government is leading a well-coordinated response, and has devoted enormous resources of its own to addressing the growing humanitarian needs, but that a crisis of this scale urgently requires significant support from the international community.
Failed spring rains followed by powerful El Nino weather conditions have created an escalating food emergency in Ethiopia, Kyung-wha Kang, the UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and deputy UN emergency relief coordinator, told reporters here in late November shortly after returning from the African country where she witnessed severe weather patterns and food shortages first-hand.
The current drought is considered the worst to hit Ethiopia and the surrounding region in more than three decades, while the current El Nino is considered equal -- to if not greater than -- the so-called super El Nino of 1997 and 1998.
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