The number of people in Ethiopia who will need food assistance this year has risen to 5.2 million, an increase of several hundred thousand from estimates released just two months ago by United Nations relief agencies and the Horn of Africa nation`s Government.
The worsening food security situation is attributed to poor rainfall last year, particularly during the February-May and June-October seasons, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported.
According to the humanitarian requirements document for Ethiopia, launched yesterday in Addis Ababa, the total net emergency food requirement from January to December 2010 and non-food needs for the first six months of this year amounts to $286.4 million.
The document " prepared by the Government and UN agencies working in the country " also stated that the net food requirement stands at 290,271 metric tons, estimated to cost around $231.3 million.
In addition, $55.1 million is required to respond to non-food needs in the areas of health and nutrition, water and sanitation, agriculture and education.
The food security situation in Ethiopia had already been weakened last year by poor rains in 2008 and the impact of the high food prices globally.