Chronic Drought Threatening Lives and Livelihoods in Ethiopia: Bulu’s Story - GOAL Global Skip to content

Chronic Drought Threatening Lives and Livelihoods in Ethiopia: Bulu’s Story


January 3, 2023 • 2 min read

Bulu Ura is the head of a family of ten. Her family’s corral (livestock pen) used to hold more than three hundred cattle. These days, just a few goats roam around otherwise it is empty space.

The small village of Wako Duba, Borena Zone, southern Ethiopia, has never experienced drought . It has not rained in five consecutive seasons. This is not only happening here but across southern Ethiopia and the horn in East Africa.

Chronic drought caused by climate change is leading to crops failing and livestock dying in huge numbers. Increases in inflation and the cost of living, caused by conflict overseas and the impact of Covid-19, is also exacerbating the current drought and destruction. People in the area are now at serious risk of extreme hunger. The lives and livelihoods of millions of people are under threat.

Devastation at Scale

Drought has killed thousands of cattle in Bulu’s area. Local farmers try to clear the carcasses as best they can, but the scale of destruction is massive – bones of cattle are still scattered around the village of Wako Duba. Bulu is devastated by the loss of her livestock this year, and is unsure of what to do next.

“We rear cattle, sheep, and goats. This is what we know,” says Bulu. “This is what we love doing. But what can someone say when everything she or he has been taken away by nature?”

Like many other people in the area, Bulu and her family may have to leave their home in search of safety and security.

I want to help

Unsure of What the Future Holds

A few miles to the south of Wako Duba, a recently established internally displaced person’s camp stretches as far as the eye can see.

Drought and hunger has brought thousands of families like Bulu’s to the camp. GOAL Ethiopia Country Director, Billy Abimbilla, has spoken with village elders.

“The situation is devastating. Almost everyone I talked to has lost the majority of their livestock and they are unsure about what the future is going to look like. GOAL is supporting displaced pastoralists through the provision of financial support, food distribution and other items. However, the scale of the need is bigger than our resources on the ground can meet. We need more support,” says Billy.

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GOAL Ethiopia Country Director, Billy Abimbilla (second from left), with community elders near Wako Duba.

Crisis in East Africa

Across East Africa, 23 million people are facing ​extreme hunger and are in critical need of ​immediate humanitarian assistance. 5.7 million children are malnourished and facing extreme hunger. GOAL teams are on the ground delivering water, food, medical and financial support as the devastating impact of chronic drought is expected to continue well into 2023.

As drought continues to ravage East Africa your support can help deliver vital support. Please give what you can today to help families like Bulu’s.