ETHIOPIA is facing a massive drought and food insecurity crisis.
They are the result of failed rains and droughts that have been worsened by the 2015 El Niño weather phenomenon. In December 2015, the government launched the 2016 Humanitarian Requirements Document calling for $1.4bn to support 10.2 million people in 2016 but the situation continues to escalate.
Whilst there’s been a lot of reporting on the situation a new report by international agency Oxfam, delves deeper than the basic statistics in the crisis facing Ethiopia, revealing just how desperate the situation is both now and for the coming year.
1. 12 to 18 months of erratic or failed rains led to crop failures of the 2015 “meher” (the main season which produces 90-95% of the nation’s total cereals output) harvest of between 50-90%.
2. In a typical year, on average a pastoralist family of six would sell three or four sheep and goats to buy enough food for the month, now they cannot sell even one in a month. Instead they rely 100% on food aid.
3. Food aid currently has a shortfall of $695m, which is a 58% gap. On 28 January 2016, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it needs $500m immediately if the food pipeline is to be maintained after April.
4. The government estimates that 27% of people in Somali region (1.5m people) require food assistance
5. Seed reserves are severely depleted and the UN estimates that there is a 50% increase in identified seed requirements for nearly 838,000 households
6. In most places, the price of livestock has plummeted as the condition of the animals is so poor, while the price of meat has almost doubled. Butchers are now selling 1kg of meat for 120–150 birr ($6 to $7.50) on average instead of the usual 70–80 birr ($3.50 to $4)
7. Access to water is a critical issue and in the areas where Oxfam is working, 92% of all water sources are reliant on rainfall. Many of these have now gone dry.
8. In Fafan zone, eastern Ethiopia, 30% of the boreholes are not functional, and in one district, 13,500 people are relying on one borehole for water.
9. Oxfam currently spends $50,000 to $75,000 per month on water trucking for up to 3835 households.
10. It is common to find that women have left their children behind to drive their remaining herds farther and farther away from families, with implications for children?s protection. There are also reports that families have been separated as some households send their children to live with relatives in bordering countries as a coping strategy.