Norway to step up drought response in Ethiopia

The drought in Ethiopia is having enormous consequences for the population. More than 15 million people are now dependent on food aid. 'The number of people who need food aid may rise dramatically if the international community fails to provide enough aid quickly enough. Norway is now allocating an additional NOK 30 million in humanitarian assistance,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.

The drought is linked to the El Niño weather pattern, and according to the UN is one of the worst the international community has experienced. The Ethiopian authorities have been contributing to the emergency response, but the scale of the crisis means that further international assistance is vital. The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator has therefore convened a meeting in Geneva today to mobilise increased international support for the Ethiopian people.

'Ethiopia is an important partner country for Norway. Norwegian NGOs have been working in the country for many years, and have built up knowledge and experience in the agricultural and water sectors that is very valuable in the response to the current crisis. We welcome the cooperation between leading Norwegian NGOs on the provision of emergency assistance to Ethiopia,' said Mr Brende.

Norway has been cooperating with Ethiopia on climate-resilient agriculture for a number of years. However, the impacts of the current El Niño, one of the strongest on record, show that the progress Ethiopia has made is very fragile, and that the situation can deteriorate rapidly in poor rural areas. Norway increased the level of its humanitarian assistance to the country from autumn 2015, and recently provided an extra NOK 20 million to the World Food Programme to mitigate the impacts of the drought.

The additional NOK 30 million will be allocated partly to a consortium consisting of Norwegian Church Aid, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian People's Aid and the Development Fund Norway. In addition, some funding will go to Norcap (the Norwegian Refugee Council's emergency standby roster), which can deploy experts as needed to support humanitarian crisis response.