have never seen dust so thick. It cakes itself onto my boots and
embeds itself within every fibre of my clothes. I can taste it in the
is eastern Ethiopia in the midst of the nation's worst drought in 50
far more than 10 million people are in need of food aid, while
400,000 children are expected to suffer severe malnutrition this
people are desperate and in need of help. Some communities have not
seen rain in more than two years.
week I travelled out to the Somali region of Ethiopia, where hundreds
of thousands of livestock have perished from the lack of food and
pastoral lands were once green and lush, but now they kick up plumes
of dust with the slightest breeze.
of the dead carcasses were cleared away as part of a cash-for-work
program initiated by Save the Children, though occasionally the
skeleton of a cow or donkey crops up along the roadside as we drive
further into the desert.
are travelling out to an area called Afdem, where I eventually meet
Abdi, a father of nine who once had a herd of 48 animals. Now just
worry a lot and don't know what I will do in the future," he
can see from my children's faces the lack of milk and fresh meat. You
can see the decline in their weight.
the drought, my children played with other children and had lots of
energy. They used to be joyful, but not anymore."
of Abdi's children go to school any longer because they cannot
concentrate because of the lack of food.
are among 2.5 million Ethiopian children who are expected to drop out
of the education system due to the drought.
children will fall into severe malnutrition, more animals will perish
and more people will become reliant on food aid.
at the same time, the global $US1.4 billion drought appeal is only
about a third funded.
international community is still to come to the fore for Ethiopia,
but they must.
far the Ethiopian Government has led the humanitarian response and
shouldered much of the funding burden to date, committing over $US300
million of its own funds.
scale of this emergency is like nothing I have seen before, such that
Save the Children currently classifies just two humanitarian crises
at its highest level — the war in Syria, and the drought in
have never witnessed this kind of drought in my life," Abdi said
standing with an arm affectionately draped around his six-year-old
the elders in our community say they have never seen anything this
bad. We are facing an almighty crisis and we need help. Please help