DFID has been following the evolution of the drought and its impact since the middle of 2015, working with the Government of Ethiopia, the UN system and other donors to compile and assess information on rainfall, production and food and non-food needs. On December 11th the Government and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released a Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) which assessed that 10.2 million people would need emergency food assistance in the first half of 2016 due to the effects of the drought. This is on top of the 8 million Ethiopians who are chronically food insecure, and who already receive multi-year support through the Government’s rural public works programme. 5.8 million people require assistance obtaining clean water, health and sanitation; and a projected 400,000 children will require treatment for severe malnutrition.
The UK Government has provided one of the earliest and largest packages of assistance to tackle the effects of the drought. In July, DFID provided £45 million to the response, which provided food to 2.3 million people; nutritional support to 258,000 severely malnourished children; and assistance to water, sanitation and health needs of the drought-affected communities.