Global Food Crisis Fund

A Crisis of Hunger

Hunger and food insecurity in Ethiopia have reached unprecedented levels due to devastating, overlapping crises. Conflict, climate extremes (including both drought and flooding), desert locusts, the COVID-19 pandemic and socio-economic challenges have led to deteriorating levels of nutrition and food security across the country.

Among the world’s countries suffering from the current global hunger crisis, Ethiopia is ranked by the World Food Programme (WFP) as the third most affected. According to the WFP, 14 to 15 million Ethiopians (13% - 14% of the country population) are experiencing severe food insecurity.1

A person is food insecure when he or she lacks regular access to enough safe and nutritious food to remain healthy and lead an active life.

A Cycle and History of Hunger


The primary driver of the food crisis in Ethiopia are the ongoing areas of conflict, particularly in the north. Starting in the Tigray region in November 2020, the conflict in northern Ethiopia intensified and spread into the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions. In November 2022, a formal peace deal was agreed between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan authorities, but the impacts of the crisis continue to be felt.

The conflict in the Tigray region alone has resulted in the displacement of more than 2 million Ethiopians and the disruption n of livelihoods and agricultural activities. Another 2.2 million Ethiopians have been displaced by ethnic and political tensions in other regions of the country.2

In addition, Ethiopia is home to more than 800,000 refugees from neighboring countries fleeing civil war and the risk of famine, especially Eritrea, Somalia and South Sudan.3

Ethiopia hosts the second largest population of refugees and asylum seekers in Africa. — World Food Programme, “Global Report on Food Crises - 2022”

Climate Extremes & Environmental Challenges

Hunger and food insecurity have existed in Ethiopia for decades. In recent years, sustained periods of little to no rainfall have led to severe droughts, especially in southern and southeastern Ethiopia, that further contribute to food scarcity, food shortages, food insecurity and widespread child malnutrition in the country.

The WFP reports that as of January 2022, over 260,000 livestock had already died in the worst drought-affected areas.4 At the other extreme, heavy rains triggered flooding in 2021’s rainy season in several zones of Ethiopia’s Somali region, displacing about 56,000 people and resulting in the death of about 7,700 animals.5 Also in 2021, small swarms of desert locusts invaded the northern regions, decimating the agricultural production that families depend on for food.

Economic Shocks, Including COVID-19

Macroeconomic challenges, especially food inflation caused by ongoing conflict and the pandemic, are wreaking havoc on food security in Ethiopia. Food prices, which now double over those of 2021, continue to limit food access for the country’s families most vulnerable to acute malnutrition. Reductions in fuel subsidies are expected to drive food costs higher.

What Is the Effect of Ethiopia’s Hunger Crisis on Children?

Child malnutrition is at critical levels in Ethiopia. When a child’s intake of calories, vitamins and minerals is less than what is needed for healthy early childhood development, stunting or wasting can be the result.

  • Stunting is the result of chronic or recurrent undernutrition that results in low height in relation to age.
  • Wasting is mostly an acute condition associated with recent and severe weight loss, such as in times of drought or food scarcity. Wasting results in a low weight in relation to height.
  • Underweight children may experience stunting and wasting, but they may not. Having low weight-for-age is considered being underweight.

4.2 million
under age 5 suffer from wasting

1 million
under age 5 suffer from severe wasting

2.9 million
are acutely malnourished

Source: World Food Programme, “Global Report on Food Crises - 2022”

How Compassion Is Helping in Ethiopia

Compassion partners with hundreds of local churches in Ethiopia to provide our program of holistic child development to more than 128,000 children in extreme need. The staff of these churches and their Compassion centers are trained to detect undernutrition and provide immediate nutrition support for the children they serve. But the current hunger crisis in Ethiopia and the growing prevalence of severe food insecurity is calling for humanitarian aid on an unprecedented scale.

Compassion is equipping our Ethiopian church partners on the front lines of ministry to provide life-saving food assistance to children and families in critical need. Church partners are also equipped to implement initiatives that will help families ensure future food sustainability.

Emergency Food Assistance includes:

  • Packages of basic food supplies delivered directly to families in crisis. Supplies contain such staples as rice, canned meat, corn, cooking oil, milk and eggs.
  • Direct money transfers. These cash distributions enable families to purchase the food they desperately need. Such distributions have proven an effective, discreet and dignified way to help families in Compassion’s care.

Assistance for Future Food Sustainability includes:

  • Agriculture inputs for rural families, such as seeds, fertilizer and livestock. It also includes training in good farming techniques to help families who are reliant on subsistent farming to maximize their production.
  • Income-generation training for families in urban areas. Training and equipping families for success in small businesses, such as operating a vegetable stand in the local market or repairing motorbikes, helps them establish a reliable source of income for meeting their basic needs.

How You Can Help

Your gift to the Compassion Global Food Crisis Fund will make a difference for the children and families Compassion serves during this time of exceptional need. You will be helping provide:

  • Packages of basic food supplies to families facing critical food insecurity.
  • Direct cash transfers that families can use to buy the food they need.
  • Nutrition assistance for pregnant mothers and infants.
  • Income-generating activities that ensure long-term food security.

Our actions are our future! Please donate today to help Ethiopian families affected by the global food crisis.

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1 “Global Report on Food Crises - 2022.” UN World Food Programme,

2 “Ethiopia Annual Country Report - 2021” UN World Food Programme,

3 Ibid.

4 “Global Report on Food Crises - 2022.” UN World Food Programme,

5 Ibid.


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