East African communities have been decimated by the worst drought in 40 years. Across Ethiopia alone, 24 million people have been affected.
Five consecutive seasons have failed to produce rain, leading to the death of 3.6 million livestock with an estimated value of USD$600 million. Ethiopia’s Borena Zone has been one the areas worst affected.
Since the beginning of the crisis, GOAL teams in Ethiopia have been working closely with communities affected, local and regional administrative bodies, donors and partners. Local communities have received financial support to survive the crisis, as well as support in rehabilitating water points such as wells which were damaged. In the most critical cases, GOAL organised water trucks to provide clean water to communities without any access to this most vital resource. With affected communities in such dire need, GOAL staff in Borena Zone decided to donate a month’s salary to support local people suffering from drought.
GOAL has also teamed up with Plan International and local NGOs to raise awareness of the crisis and advocate for emergency resources. This included hosting a visit from parliamentarians, local and international media outlets and donors at the beginning of March. During the visit parliamentarians met with community members and witnessed first-hand the impact of drought.
Turning point for communities
Farmers and pastoralists are among those worst affected by the crisis. Godana Kere, used to have more than one hundred cattle, “we thought the crisis will be like the previous droughts that we saw in our time, yet this one is different. Almost all of us have lost our livestock and livelihoods over the last two years. Now it has become a turning point for our community. We need to adopt a new way of life. Otherwise we may not be able to survive this way for long.”
While the prolonged drought is wreaking havoc on livelihoods it’s also leading to additional problems for local communities. “Parents are struggling to meet their basic needs. As families struggle to get food and water, tensions rise, and young women and girls are forced to make compromises. Girls are being pushed into early marriage, and violence against women and girls is getting worse,” The Reporter, a local Ethiopian newspaper, reported.
With so many families struggling to survive it’s hoped that the international community will rally and provide life-saving assistance to communities in need.
You can help communities enduring drought in Ethiopia with a donation today.