United Nations humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien today released US$17 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support people affected by the worst drought in Ethiopia in decades. UN and partners are supporting the ongoing response led by the Government of Ethiopia. The El Niño global climactic event has wreaked havoc on Ethiopia’s summer rains. This comes on the heels of failed spring rains, and has driven food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages in affected areas of the country. “A timely response to the emergency is critical. If we don’t act today, we face an even graver situation tomorrow, with more immense needs in 2016,” warned the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “CERF funds will immediately provide crucial food supplies for people affected by the drought, now, when they need it most.” The emergency funding will be provided to the World Food Programme so it can support some 1.37 million Ethiopians with food, and provide specialized nutritional supplements to 164,000 malnourished women and children.