According to OCHA, the drought in Ethiopia has affected 6.8 million people, including 2.3 million in the Somali region alone. Livestock, one of the main assets and income generators in this pastoral area, is in poor health and a lot have also perished, further increasing the vulnerabilities and food insecurity of affected communities.
"I lost all my livestock"
Wrapped in a black and white head scarf standing outside a makeshift shelter made of sticks and plastic, Ahmed Abdi is a father of six children, and was displaced from Kontama Kebele in the Somali region. Prior to this displacement, Ahmed was a proud agropastoralist with numerous herds of cattle, a respected elder in his community and a man that often came to the aid of many.
“I had 27 cows and 32 goats back in my village and a small farm. I had a sustainable livelihood that took care of my extended family comfortably,” he says.
“However, all of this changed last year when the drought was at its worst. I had to flee with the clothes I had and the few remaining livestock that were weak and malnourished. Today, most of them have died and I only have two remaining,” Ahmed says as he stares at the carcass of one of his cows that perished recently.
Ahmed Abdi, displaced father of six children
In response to the needs, DRC Ethiopia has assisted 1,410 most vulnerable households affected by the drought through Multipurpose cash assistance. The target areas were TuliGuled and Babile Woredas in Fafan zone with a focus on IDPs who were displaced from other zones in search of water and pasture for their livestock and food and clean water for themselves. The host community was also targeted as they are also affected by the additional burden due to the influx of displaced people and livestock.
“In Ethiopia, we are doing all we can to respond to the drought in a much more efficient and coordinated manner, however, the scale of needs that has resulted from the drought is overwhelming, and more funds are required to support the people who are staring at potential famine. We are calling for a more coordinated and multifaceted approach to protect lives, livelihoods and to also avert a potential famine,” Sue Clark, DRC Ethiopia Country Director says.
Sue Clark, Country Director, DRC Ethiopia
Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are experiencing one of the worst droughts in 40 years after three back-to-back failed rainy seasons. Thousands of people have been forced into displacement while seeking food, water and pasture, and the governments of Kenya and Somalia have declared national emergencies.
As donors convene in Geneva, over 50 NGOs and NGO networks call for an urgent and substantial step-up in funding and leadership to respond to the humanitarian catastrophe facing millions in the Horn of Africa due to the severe drought, warning that further delays will cost lives.