The failure of the 2016 October-December rains across parts of the Horn of Africa has led to a devastating drought in Somalia, south-eastern Ethiopia, and northern and eastern Kenya. More than 15 million people in these three countries are facing food and water shortages, and famine is now a possibility in Somalia.
The drought follows one of the strongest El Niño events on record, and many of the affected areas have seen the failure of successive rains, with cumulative impacts that have exhausted the coping strategies of vulnerable communities.
Forecasts suggest the next rains in affected areas – expected from March-May – may also be below-average.
In Somalia, 5 million people need humanitarian assistance. In Ethiopia, 5.6 million people need emergency food assistance and 9.2 million require safe water. In Kenya, 1.3 million people are facing food shortages.
Read the January 2017 report from Inter-Agency Working Group on Disaster... Read more
Pastoral conditions deteriorate following very poor seasonal performance in southeastern areas
- Food security outcomes have improved in many areas of Ethiopia as Meher harvests have improved household food access. However, emergency food assistance needs will remain high as poor seasonal rainfall in southern and southeastern pastoral areas and lowland cropping areas of eastern and central Oromia and Rift Valley areas of SNNPR lead to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity through May 2017, or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) in the presence of emergency assistance.
- Deyr/Hageya seasonal rainfall between October and December 2016 was very late and significantly below average across most of southern and southeastern Ethiopia. Livestock body conditions have started to decline, leading to low livestock productivity, decreasing livestock prices, and below-average terms o... Read more
Drought is one of the costly events in pastoral settings and it is number one threat for pastoral communities. Drought causes challenges on human health, livestock health, food security, natural resource, social and economic challenges. Drought is happening more rapidly, more unpredictably and more frequently and is hitting pastoralist more unprepared. Drought causes a vicious poverty cycle ranging from crop-yield failure to livestock losses, land degradation to soil erosion, assets erosion to unemployment, income decrease to deteriorated living standards, poor nutrition to malnutrition, reduced coping capacity to vulnerability of all kind of shocks. Natural and man-made hazards including drought have been witnessed for the last couple of decades in eastern Africa including Ethiopia. In the last 2-3 decades, both the occurrence and frequency increases as its negative effect on livelihood increases too. There is quite a number asset losses due to the i... Read more
In an interview with Tufts Now, Andrew Catley gives insights on the efforts to tackle the current drought effects in Ethiopia and how future strategies should be. Andrew Cately is a research director at Tufts' Feinstein International Center who has been leading research projects in Ethiopia since 2005.
He described the response of the Ethiopian government in the following way: "The response of the Ethiopian government is, I think, widely seen as a success story. It seems they've now committed up to $700 million of their own money—saved thanks to lower oil prices—which is unprecedented. If we compare that to previous major droughts in 1984-1985 and 2002-2003, one of the things we're seeing is this huge government commitment and leadership. The government was the first major responde... Read more