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    Thousands of ruminants destocked in drought-hit Ethiopia

    APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

    Tens of thousands of goats and sheep are being destocked in drought hit pastoralist areas of Ethiopia where 5.6 million people are in need of emergency food assistance, an official disclosed on Thursday.

    The destocking of animals has been underway in two ways, by supplying the animals directly to the market, and slaughtering them and supplying the meat to universities, institutions and mega projects that comprise a larger number of employees and communities, Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner of Disaster Risk Management Commission said.

    The pastoralist communities own a large number of livestock and that makes supply of adequate fodder and water for all cattle challenging and hence destocking has been used as a means to minimize animal loss.

    In addition to supplying to the institutions, local communities in Ethiopia’s Somali State have started to use the meat as supplementary food.

    “For instance, more than 2,000 goats are being slaughtered where the meat is being dried and supplied to the people as a supplementary nutritious food every day, which is a good thing that the other regional states should share”, Mitiku said.

    He said humanitarian assistance to the drought affected areas is being pursued in accordance with the plan and no challenge has so far been encountered in providing food aid.

    The Commissioner added: “Food and non-food responses to the drought affected areas are prudently underway by dispersing the budget allocated while the regional states, business persons, private sector and the general public are playing a key role.”

    But the dispersed pastoralists' settlements make the task of supplying water difficult, which he said, forcing the government to search for other mechanisms.

    The government is working to meet the water demands of pastoralist communities through rationing as a temporary measure and excavation of water holes to resolve the problem permanently.

    Gathering the pastoralists and their livestock temporarily at center points and relocating them to places where water and grass is available is being applied to effectively meet their water demands, he added.

    As water facilities are not proportional with the number of people who need access, excavating massive water holes in the nearby areas is one of the directions set and is under implementation.

    The country needs $922 million to provide humanitarian aid for the stated number of affected people.

    The governments of Sweden and Canada are among the first that have pledged €10 million and $16.1 million respectively for the humanitarian response intervention.


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