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WFP and Saudi Arabia support drought relief project in Ethiopia

Saturday April 15, 2017

A family of pastoralists migrating to a less drought-stricken area of Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region.  Kristy Siegfried/IRIN

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The World Food Programme (WFP) and Saudi Arabia have joined hands to provide emergency food assistance to drought-hit Ethiopians.

The two on Friday held a food aid hand-over ceremony as part of their effort to address over 127,666 peoples in drought-hit Somali region in southeastern Ethiopia.

The support from Saudi Arabia, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, includes 1,938.8 tonnes of food items, worth 1 million U.S. dollars. According to WFP, 103,040 Ethiopians have so far been reached through the joint emergency food assistance package.

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"This particular contribution comes at a critical moment for Ethiopia. A serious drought has once more struck the country, placing millions of Ethiopians at considerable risk," said John Aylieff, WFP Representative and Country Director to Ethiopia.

According to Aylieff, 1.7 million people in the Somali region are currently facing "extremely difficult circumstances battered by unfavorable climatic conditions which have threatened their livelihoods and their existence".

The East African country has faced many climatic challenges in recent years.

The El Nino-driven drought that struck the country since 2015 was among the worst the country had seen in its history.

This year’s drought, provoked by the Indian Ocean Dipole, has put more than 5 million Ethiopians in need of emergency assistance.

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