Ethiopia: 2 million affected by severe drought

27 April, 2011
A herder pours water for his camels at an EC funded water catchment point in Harshin district, Ethiopia. Credit: IRIN/Siegfried Modola
A herder pours water for his camels at an EC funded water catchment point in Harshin district, Ethiopia. Credit: IRIN/Siegfried Modola

Drought induced by the La Niña phenomenon in the Horn of Africa has left more than 2 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in the southern and southeastern lowlands of Ethiopia. According to a special report from the Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team (EHCT), emergency conditions are likely to persist until the next rainy season arrives in October.

The Government, the UN, international and national NGOs, humanitarian donors and various civil society and private sector organizations have responded by providing water trucking to over 2 million people, relief food for food-insecure households, WASH, health and other non-food supplies in drought-affected areas, and enhanced animal health care and feed for livestock. A multi-agency national needs assessment will start in May, approximately one month earlier than originally scheduled according to the most recent OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin.

Meanwhile, there is heightened risk of disease outbreaks and pasture and water sources remain depleted in the most affected areas. Also, recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has temporarily led to declined demand for cattle exports from Ethiopia. At the same time, global food and fuel price rises have increased the cost of buying and importing essential goods and food.

The Government has called for an additional $75 million for priority response in April and May. EHCT agrees that the humanitarian response must be scaled up to meet increasing needs and expand operations in coming months to avoid critical pipeline breaks.

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