UN officials appeal for solidarity with drought-affected Ethiopia

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Semi-pastoralists were hard-hit by drought in Ethiopia due to the 2016 El Niño weather phenomenon. Photo: UNICEF/Mulugeta Ayene

The UN Secretary-General has called for solidarity with the people and Government Ethiopia as they tackle drought conditions.

António Guterres was speaking at a high-level event on the humanitarian situation in the country, held in the capital, Addis Ababa.

More than 10 million people in the East African country were affected by drought last year brought on by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

The country is now facing a new drought with nearly six million citizens facing hunger, according to UN humanitarian agency, OCHA.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN Secretary-General said showing solidarity with Ethiopia was not just a matter of generosity but also of justice and self-interest.

Even though the country has faced its own development challenges, Mr Guterres said Ethiopia kept its borders open to people fleeing conflict or persecution in their homelands.

He praised the Government's efforts to respond to last year's drought, and its policy of building resilience to natural disasters.

UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator Stephen O'Brien reported on his visit to Ethiopia's Somali region where he witnessed the "immense impact" of the new drought.

He called on countries to join the Ethiopian Government in supporting a US$948 million appeal.

Mr O'Brien said action must be ramped up to reduce suffering and protect the country's hard-won development gains.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 56″

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