Three Save the Children CEOs visit drought-affected regions as humanitarian crisis worsens

Thursday 14 January 2016

Three Save the Children CEOs from Europe and North America have today returned from drought-stricken woredas in Afar and Amhara. The aid agency is calling on world leaders to do more to combat the nation’s worst drought in 50 years.

CEOs from Save the Children US, Finland and Norway have travelled to some of the worst affected communities on Monday and Tuesday, including visits to the Dubti Hospital and Health Centre, and a health post in Mehal Amba.

“The scale of devastation caused by drought in Ethiopia’s agricultural and pastoral heartland is enormous, and comprises a region roughly the size of Colorado,” Save the Children US CEO Carolyn Miles said. “World leaders need to take notice, especially given the horrendous impact on children, and commit to support the relief efforts.”

Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children US, meeting Hawa Habib and her child in Dubti Hospital in Afar Regional State

According to the Government of Ethiopia, 10.1 million people will need food aid in 2016 because of the drought, while 400,000 children could suffer severe acute malnutrition.

The Ethiopian Government has also revised up its emergency funding appeal to US$1.2 billion, however so far it is less than half funded.

“The sheer scale of this El Nino induced drought means those who are affected often have no choice but to give up their agricultural or pastoral land and move to urban areas to receive support from the government and aid agencies,” Save the Children Norway CEO Tove Wang said.

“It is critical that these people have access to food aid, but also that they are supported to return to their lands and regrow their crops in the future.”

Tove R. Wang, CEO of Save the Children Norway, visiting a health center in Afar Regional State

Save the Children is one of the main agencies supporting government efforts, and has already delivered emergency food aid to over 250,000 people, and treated over 4,000 cases of child malnutrition since the drought started.

The agency is working in over 60 of the worst-affected districts in Ethiopia, providing food, water, medicine and crucial support to families who have lost their incomes, with an immediate focus on increasing food aid, treating child malnutrition, water trucking, intervening to save livestock and crops where possible, and supporting families to keep their children in school through the crisis.

Hanna Markkula, CEO of Save the Children Finland, visiting a health center in Afar Regional State