Nations commit to providing Ethiopia with over $600 million in aid.

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A pledging event, co-hosted by the United Nations in collaboration with the governments of Ethiopia and the United Kingdom, took place at the United Nations premises in Geneva. Its aim was to ramp up life-saving support for 15.5 million individuals and provide food assistance to 10.4 million people.

On Tuesday, nations committed over $630 million to tackle the pressing humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia. The donor conference, held at the United Nations’ European headquarters, aimed to secure substantial pledges toward the $1 billion urgently needed by the UN for aid over the next three months. In the end 21 countries pledged to support.

While the hosts acknowledged beforehand that reaching the full amount was unlikely, they aimed to bridge the gap between needs and funding.

Joyce Msuya, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, emphasized that this was just the beginning, hoping for sustained and increased support throughout the year.

According to OCHA, pledges came from 21 countries totaled $628.9 million. The largest contributor was the United States, offering $253 million, followed by the United Kingdom with 100 million pounds ($124.58 million), and the European Union with $46.6 million.

Ethiopia grapples with internal conflicts, economic challenges, climate shocks, and a worsening food and malnutrition crisis.

The UN estimates a requirement of $3.24 billion this year, including aid for approximately four million internally displaced persons, yet prior to the conference, the funding stood at less than five percent.

Shiferaw Teklemariam, commissioner of the Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Commission, stressed the urgency, urging action before it’s too late.

The UN highlighted the immediate need for $1 billion for urgent aid until the end of June, as well as preparations for the lean season from July to September, when approximately 11 million people are projected to face critical food insecurity.The humanitarian situation is described as critical, with an opportunity to avert further deterioration through swift action.

However, the distribution of aid remains a challenge, with concerns about ensuring it reaches those in need. Last year, aid distribution was temporarily halted due to allegations of diversion, which Ethiopia’s government denied.

Despite reforms and stringent measures, there’s still insufficient aid to distribute effectively. Conflict exacerbates food insecurity, with peace and security essential for resolving the crisis effectively.

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