Starving Children in Ethiopia

"Children near Gheralta, Ethiopia" by Rod Waddington is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Are there starving children in Ethiopia? Why is Ethiopia associated with starvation and hunger? Ethiopia is actually Africa’s second-largest country by population. With a population of 105 million people, it is the most populous nation in the world. Ethiopia’s still strained health system has been exacerbated by COVID-19. The threats to Ethiopian children are numerous, particularly when combined with the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

Ethiopia, which is located in the Horn of Africa, is vulnerable to climate-related disasters such as drought and heavy flooding. Families depend on rain-fed agriculture for food, jobs, and survival because over 80% of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Nearly 7 million Ethiopians were seriously food poor well before the pandemic.

Even though Ethiopia is barely listed in the press, millions of children in the East African nation are still malnourished. Droughts, high food prices, poverty, and a lack of agricultural investment are some of the causes of Ethiopian children’s chronic hunger, stunting, and even malnutrition.

Whether there is food on the tables of millions of Ethiopian families is largely determined by one factor: the weather. This landlocked nation in the Horn of Africa, separated from the sea by Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia, is home to nearly 105 million people, almost all of whom depend on rain-fed agriculture, including crops and livestock, for food and income.

For decades, families have been vulnerable to hunger as a result of this strong dependence on agriculture, and recent droughts, compounded by other hazards such as flash floods, severe poverty, war, and displacement, have put millions of people in danger. According to the United Nations, nearly 8 million people, including 4.2 starving children in ethiopia, do not have enough food to eat.

The majority of Starving Children in Ethiopia live in remote villages where even officials are unaware of their presence. Hunger is so bad in some of these remote rural areas that aid workers are met by helpless mothers with severely malnourished children who are unable to cry, smile, move, or play. On occasion, they can also be welcomed by the stench of death.

Even though many parts of Africa are rapidly developing and putting in place infrastructure, food security remains a problem. Internal migration, environmental causes, and market volatility can be devastating in countries like Ethiopia. According to the Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan, nearly 8.1 million people will face food insecurity in 2019. Furthermore, although approximately 2.2 million people were internally displaced in Ethiopia as of May 2019, government operations enabled approximately 1.8 million people to return to their homes.

Famine and Starving Children in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has experienced famines regularly during its history for a variety of reasons. Ethiopia’s economy was focused on subsistence farming, with an elite that ate the surplus. The peasants lacked incentives to either increase productivity or store their excess crops for a variety of reasons, and as a result, they lived from harvest to harvest. Despite Ethiopia’s comprehensive modernization over the last 120 years, about 80% of the population is still poor farmers who live from harvest to harvest and are vulnerable to crop failures in 2016.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: famine

Drought and Famine, and Starving Children in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has long struggled with hunger and food insecurity. In recent years, prolonged periods of low to no rainfall have resulted in regular and long-lasting droughts, which have exacerbated food scarcity, shortages, food insecurity, and widespread child malnutrition in the nation. As food shortages push up food prices or make food staples more difficult to acquire, the journey from drought to hunger and malnutrition increases a person’s vulnerability and susceptibility to illness, disease, and death.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: drought

Starving Children in Ethiopia: Who is the worst affected?

Droughts have the biggest effect on children. They are unable to grow physically and mentally due to a lack of food. When children do not receive the nutrients they need to grow, they are more likely to contract diseases. Children are therefore more likely to be overlooked when parents go further afield in search of work.

According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children survey, 300,000 starving children in Ethiopia die each year from malnutrition. Furthermore, hungry children are often chronically afflicted, with weakened immune systems, developmental damage, and physical growth retardation. In reality, infants who were underweight in the womb would grow up to be five centimeters shorter and weigh five kilograms less.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: the affected

Starving Children in Ethiopia and Child Malnutrition

According to a 2014 report published in the Ethiopian Journal of Health Science, the national baseline for chronic malnutrition was 40%, with some regions experiencing even higher rates of malnutrition, such as Afar (49%) Tigray (44%), and Amhara (42%).

Stunting or wasting can occur when a child’s calorie, vitamin, and mineral intake is less than what is required for healthy early childhood growth.

Stunting is induced by persistent or repeated malnutrition, resulting in low age; wasting is a more acute disorder caused by sudden and extreme weight loss, such as during famine or food shortage. Stunting and wasting are situations in which a child’s weight is low in comparison to his or her height. Underweight children can or may not suffer stunting and wasting. Being underweight is described as having a low weight-for-age ratio.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: malnutrition

Why is Ethiopia Suffering From Hunger and Drought?

According to the World Bank, 26 million Ethiopians are living in poverty. To live, they depend on small-scale agriculture. They are unable to endure external shocks, such as drought or a decline in market prices, due to their precarious condition. Farmers also report that due to climate change, rainy seasons that were once predictable are no longer so.

More than 80% of Ethiopia’s population lives in rural areas and relies entirely on rain-fed agriculture for a living, whether it’s growing crops, raising livestock, selling seeds and equipment, or working in other agricultural-related occupations.

The economy of the country is also largely dependent on these operations. And it’s the rainy seasons that hold them alive. However, due in part to climate change and other volatile weather trends, increasing irregular rainfall and prolonged periods of drought make it difficult for most of the population to reliably grow food, keep animals safe, and earn money.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: reason for drought

How Does Climate Change Lead to Starving Children in Ethiopia:?

In Ethiopia, the weather is inextricably related to health and hunger. Farmers can’t always grow the quality or quantity of crops they need to feed their families when rain doesn’t fall as planned, which means they can’t produce what they need to eat or what they will usually sell at the local market for profit.

Water for drinking and everyday activities becomes scarce or non-existent during a drought. Dryland also lacks the pasture animals need to graze, causing many to become ill, stop producing milk, and die. Herding families have no milk, meat, or money if their animals aren’t safe. Changing and erratic weather patterns may also result in heavier rainfall than normal, causing rivers to overflow and floods to obliterate crops, shelters, livestock, and property.

"Children near Gheralta, Ethiopia" by Rod Waddington is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
starving children in ethiopia “Boy & Grandmother” by Rod Waddington ,CC

While these weather changes impact every country on the planet, families in poor countries, such as Ethiopia, who depend on agriculture and live hand to mouth even when the weather is stable, are disproportionately affected by climate change. As a result, the consequences of unpredictably wet weather and other surprises can be catastrophic for these families.

People who have no other means of help are often forced to miss meals or sell their belongings to survive. Others completely abandon their homes and land in search of food. In Ethiopia, unpredictable weather caused more than 3 million people to be displaced from their homes in 2018.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: the effect of the climate change

Is It Possible for Ethiopians To Buy More Food?

It’s a challenge. Many Ethiopians suffer from extreme hunger and hardship, with little or no financial safety net to help them get through a crisis. Ethiopia, according to the World Bank, is one of Africa’s poorest nations, with about a quarter of the population living in severe poverty.

Droughts and other disasters reduce food resources in agricultural areas by reducing the number of crops produced and harvested. Even if the supply is available, what is available becomes more costly, making it difficult for already-struggling families to purchase what they want.

Agriculture is Ethiopia’s main and most viable source of income, so livelihoods that aren’t in any way reliant on it are uncommon in most parts of the world. The purchasing power and prosperity of whole communities are affected when the agricultural industry is small, not just those who grow crops or raise animals.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: food shortage?

Coping with Starvation in Ethiopia

Can Ethiopia feed itself?

Traditional bank accounts are rare, and only a small portion of the population has access to financial services such as deposits, loans, and credit to fall back on in an emergency. Herders, on the other hand, save and invest in their animals, such as camels, sheep, goats, and cows. Herders do this by keeping their animals safe and connecting them to markets where they can sell them for profit when necessary.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: coping with the problem

In Ethiopia, Who Is Affected by Hunger?

Ethiopians are suffering from widespread hunger. Since so many people depend on frequent rains for their food and livelihoods, the majority of the population is vulnerable to food shortages: The key rainy season, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, feeds 80-85% of the world.

Since they have invested in their livestock, herders are marginally more prepared to cope with emergencies. Farmers and families who already don’t have enough to eat are more likely to fall into debt because they have fewer savings to fall back on in the event of a loss.

When people with higher nutritional needs, such as infants, pregnant women, or breastfeeding mothers, don’t get enough food, they suffer the most. Hunger can have long-term, disastrous consequences for many of these communities’ health and development; it prevents people from achieving their full potential and can trap them in a cycle of poverty and hunger.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: the affected part of the society

Why Are Women and Children More Susceptible to Starvation?

The same threats that make hunger a persistent problem for everyone — drought, insecurity, and conflict — are compounded for Ethiopian women and starving child in Ethiopia by additional obstacles that prevent them from getting the food and support they need to meet their unique nutritional needs, such as inadequate access to medical care, a lack of information about diet diversity, health, and nutrition, and cultural norms that prevent them from getting the food and support they need.

How many children die from hunger yearly in Ethiopia?

300,000 children.

Just 16 percent of Ethiopian mothers receive postnatal treatment within two days of giving birth, and only about half exclusively breastfeed their infants. According to UNICEF, almost 40% of Ethiopian children are stunted, and only 45% are fed at least three times a day. Undernutrition is responsible for nearly a third of all infant and child deaths, with nearly 200,000 starving children in Ethiopia dying before reaching the age of five each year. In Ethiopia, there are reportedly 370,000 children who need treatment for extreme acute malnutrition.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: the affected part of the society

What Can Be Done in Ethiopia To Tackle Hunger?

Agricultural families must understand that their ability to adapt to climate change, maintain stable, profitable livestock, and increase their overall nutrition is vital to their long-term stability.

In the battle against hunger, awareness can be transformative, as it improves parents’ ability to keep their homes clean and make educated decisions on what to feed their children. As a result, healthier, well-nourished bodies are better able to combat diseases and gain more nutrients from the food they eat, making them more active and better able to avoid poverty.

Although foreign aid is a beneficial enterprise and a short-term solution, some argue that it has become too much of a sustaining force in Ethiopia. The country has learned to rely on imported help, and while it can generate some goods, it does not come close to being able to turn the country’s fortunes around.

Agriculture accounts for 80% of Ethiopian occupations, with government and services accounting for 12% and manufacturing and construction accounting for 8%. Again, the fact that the country has just 10% arable land but relies on agriculture for 80% of its workforce is amazing. Nearly half of the country’s population lives in poverty. One could focus solely on the statistics’ paradox. How does a country think about getting out of trouble when its inconsistencies are leading to its failure to progress?

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: solution

Ethiopia’s Hunger Situation in 8 Truths

  1. In 2019, there were approximately 8 million Ethiopians who needed aid or assistance. Starving Children in Ethiopia made up around 4.2 million of the totals. However, not everyone was able to be met. Just about 3.8 million people were expected to receive assistance in 2019, with 2 million of them being children.
  2. Seasonal rains are often delayed in Ethiopia, resulting in drought. Since many of the people affected are subsistence farmers, they will be unable to grow crops during this period. Insufficient rainfall to meet crop requirements occurs frequently, including during the 2017 rainy season. Droughts, according to the BBC, can reduce crop yields to just 10% of what is expected in a normal season.
  3. Women and starving children in Ethiopia face additional difficulties as a result of societal inequalities, including those aimed at men. Since resources are generally geared towards men first, Ethiopia’s women and children, numbering about 370,000, are in urgent need of assistance due to issues such as extreme acute malnutrition.
  4. Many Ethiopians have been forced to sell some of their properties to cope with the country’s hunger crisis. Ethiopians have traditionally sought relief by selling cattle for a good price. During a drought, however, families are forced to give up their homes, gold, and even their land due to falling cattle prices.
  5. In 2019, $124 million was projected to be required to adequately serve and protect Ethiopians from hunger and famine. These figures may arise in the aftermath of the pandemic as a result of the novel coronavirus and other health issues that arise. Serving the healthcare sector has a direct impact on the hunger issue.
  6. Organizations such as World Vision, USAID’s Food for Peace (FFP), and Mercy Corps are working across Ethiopia to provide the tools needed to end the famine. Investigations and analyses of the government’s safety net are being carried out to ensure the citizens’ safety in the event of potential famines. Additionally, consortiums are held regularly to provide food assistance to Ethiopians who are experiencing severe food insecurity.
  7. Mercy Corps sees education as a roadblock to successfully fighting famine and poverty in general. The organization’s activities are focused on diversifying Ethiopians’ potential sources of financial benefit so that droughts do not wipe out their sole source of income. Besides, the organization is working in Ethiopian healthcare facilities to train staff on how to treat malnutrition.
  8. Zero Hunger is one of the United Nations’ Global Goals, and it’s especially relevant for countries like Ethiopia, which are dealing not just with the impact of climate change on food production, but also with political groups seeking to intensify the famine and only give resettlement as a solution.

#Starving Children in Ethiopia: facts

Conclusion on Starving Children in Ethiopia

4 out of 10 children are stunted as a result of extreme malnutrition in Ethiopia. These are the starving children in Ethiopia. Though Ethiopia has previously struggled to meet its people’s food needs, current assistance and education from other countries are assisting in the ultimate goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition. The problem of hunger in Ethiopia is enormous, but the country can jointly improve its situation by working to establish and improve agricultural techniques for individual farmers.

Featured image: starving child in Ethiopia “Children near Gheralta, Ethiopia” by Rod Waddington i, CC BY-SA 2.0

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