The El Niño phenomenon and global climate change caused the failure of two rainy seasons, negatively affecting the livelihoods of millions people in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa Region.
This drought is affecting around 5.6 million people in Ethiopia, especially the pastoral communities in Somali Regional State, the lowlands of Borena, Bale and Gujji zones in the Oromia Regional State and South Omo zone of the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ State.
As soon as the first climatic signs were detected, Ethiopian President Dr. Mulatu Teshome and other high government officials visited the affected regions and held discussions with local communities on the possible solutions to mitigate the drought.
Moreover, a National Disaster Risk Management Commission was established. Along with the National Command Post chaired Mr. Demeke Mekonen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, it is carrying out studies about the situation of the drought-affected regions of the country.
In an interview given on the 8th of March, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Demeke Mekonen underlined the commitment of the government to prevent the negative impact on the lives of the people and of their cattle in the pastoralist communities.
The government allocated 47 million dollars to provide food and health services to the drought affected people. These response programs are conducted without affecting the ongoing development programs currently underway in the country, the Deputy Prime Minister said.
To face the drought at a regional level, the Heads of States and Governments of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia signed the Mogadishu Declaration on Regional Cooperation on the Current Drought on 22 February 2017, and called for “international collaboration and regional partnership between governments, civil society, aid organizations, business and international donors.”
In this spirit of regional partnership, Ethiopia donated over 7,200 quintals of emergency food assistance and 26,667 cartons of milk to the Somaliland region after the Somaliland administration declared the existence of a serious drought.
In the last years, Ethiopia’s government has created dedicated institutions and gained significant experience to mitigate droughts. The country shared its experience at the Istanbul Humanitarian Conferences in 2016.
On 29 January 2017, UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres called for total solidarity with the government and the people of Ethiopia. At this occasion, he commended the Ethiopian government and the humanitarian community for the successful response to the 2016 El Niño-induced drought in Ethiopia
Last year, the Ethiopian government and humanitarian partners successfully addressed the impact of the El Niño-induced drought, assisting at least 10.2 million people with food and rolling out a massive emergency response in the country, reaching 1.5 million households. Some 3.1 million children were supported through the school feeding program and 2.7 million people were assisted with clean water.
While international donors contributed close to 1 billion dollars over the course of the 2016 response, the government of Ethiopia spent at least 735 million dollars. The combined government and partners’ effort helped save countless people’s lives and averted a major humanitarian catastrophe in the country.
Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels. Contact