Ethiopia is a nation that has long been mired in drought – recent lack of rainfall has only exacerbated the situation. According to Reuters, the situation has especially grown desperate as mothers bringing their children to health centers are afraid to return to home for fear of their children dying from malnutrition there. The only thing that the employees of the health center can do is turn them away and attempt to convince them that there are other children in need of aid as well. Mulugeta Kassaw, an aid worker at one of these health centers, has reported a quadrupling of cases of malnutrition and other issues related to a lack of food available in the desert nation.
The U.N. World Food Programme has stated that if donations run out by May, the food shortages and cases of malnutrition. Ethiopia boasts the second-largest population in Africa and the ninth largest economy, but the nation has been gripped by its greatest drought in the last half-century. Most of the nation’s food comes from farming, but the drought has severely hampered any reprieve for these families. Some families have resorted to taking out loans in order to afford food, but for many it is not enough. The fear of malnutrition is terrifyingly real – in August over 40,000 children were reported as malnourished and the upcoming donor drain in May would only worsen the issue.
The Ethiopian government has predicted that 2.2 million “under-fives, pregnant and nursing mothers” may suffer from malnutrition in 2016. The number is now expected to rise because of the possible donation pool drying, Aid is also slow to arrive, as bringing in shipped food from neighbouring Djibouti is a difficult trek through mountains to the needy villages. It is a problematic cycle, and fears that the drought will not lighten soon could make these dire prophecies come to pass with a staggering intensity.