Ethiopia, the site of an infamous 1984 drought (during which a million people died due to famine), is no stranger to shifting climate issues and challenging living situations, but the country has tried valiantly to overcome internal conflicts and struggles with neighboring countries over the past thirty years. This year’s drought is threatening to destroy the progress that has been made, as parts of Ethiopia have been experiencing the lowest rainfall levels in fifty years. Livestock deaths and crop failures due to the drought are now causing 10.2 million Ethiopians (about 1/10 of the population) to be food insecure, leading global non-profit Save the Children to assess Ethiopia as a category 1 emergency, the same ranking as the Syrian crisis. Save the Children’s Ethiopia funding goals of a $100 million dollars are currently only about 1/3 fulfilled — the U.N. World Food Programme has raised less than 15% of its goals. Some of the most vulnerable populations in Ethiopia include pregnant and breastfeeding mothers as well as newborns. With estimates of 350,000 babies being born in Ethiopia by August and the next few months being a critical harvest season, there are valid concerns about the effects of the drought on maternal health as well as the ability for malnourished moms to be able to feed their babies. Older children will be affected as well — about 2.5 million children are expected to drop out of school due to the drought. With the African Union Summit meeting next week, the aid organizations hope that emergency measures are taken and a plan laid out to ameliorate the situation. Choosing which humanitarian crisis to focus on (as well as to whom you should send your hard-earned money to for aid) has gotten increasingly complicated, and this situation emphasizes how funding sources have become stretched as global issues have grown both in size and number.

via Yahoo!

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