Ethiopia: Drought threatens newborns and mothers

| February 1, 2016

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Some 350,000 babies will be born in August 2016 in Ethiopia, and will suffer the effects of a severe food shortage, warned the charity Save the Children.

Ethiopian farmers are experiencing the worst drought in 50 years. One in ten Ethiopians—about 10.2 million people—cannot feed themselves because their crops and animals have died.

John Graham is the Ethiopia Country Director for Save the Children. He says: “Giving birth in a desperate situation where there are already serious food shortages, and where livestock have died en masse, taking away a vital source of nutrition for breastfeeding mothers, is extremely dangerous for both newborns and their mothers.”

Mr. Graham adds: “This is a code red emergency and it needs to be treated like one, yet I have never seen such a small response to a drought of this magnitude from the UN or the international community.”

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Photo: In this 2008 photo, a mother carries her malnourished child in the yard of Medicine Sans Frontieres facility near Sheshemene, southern Ethiopia. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti