Drought emergency in Ethiopia


The northeast of Ethiopia is facing the worst drought in 30 years, putting at risk the lives of 10 million people. COOPI is already in action and launching appeals. The phenomenon of El Niño, linked to the warming of the pacific waters, causes flooding in some areas of the world while in others it brings reduced rainfall and drought.

The most recent rainy season in Ethiopia, which is known as the Karma and runs from June to September, was weak and poor and had a very late start ( 2 to 5 days of rain instead of 20 to 60 days of rain). Consequently, this triggered a drop in agricultural production and the death of thousands of cattle and other livestock.

Today 50% of the population is experiencing emergencies in regard to both water and food. In fact most families are part of pastoral communities, whose sources of income and food and therefore survival depend on farming.

However, without water there are no pastures and the animals migrate to other regions or die, thereby depriving people from milk and food and from an income to rely on. Even the stocks of food have finished now and the price of food has skyrocketed, forcing families to confront these urgencies by selling at least one of their animals per week. This triggers a vicious cycle and worsens their conditions.

The most serious consequences that this situation brings about include the increase in cases of malnutrition among children and domestic migration of entire communities. In search of water, families leave their villages in the hope to find a place which has a water system, even if poorly functional.

In order to address these emergencies, in November 2015 COOPI launched an urgent appeal to bring water to 9,400 people. This intervention was to operate at three different levels:

  • the rehabilitation of existing water systems in five communities by enlarging and repairing them and making them more efficient;
  • the construction of pipelines that allow water to surround villages, especially near schools and health centers, thereby reducing or containing migration levels;
  • the organization of encounters and meetings which aim to raise awareness regarding water, its correct storage, the risks associated to the consumption of dirty water and the prevention of diseases.

In 2016 in the northeast region of Afar, we will be implementing the following:

  • The rehabilitation of three dysfunctional hand-dug wells, with the installation of hydraulic pumps in Erebti Woreda, for 900 beneficiaries
  • The rehabilitation of three dysfunctional deep wells, with the installation of hydraulic pumps and the refurbishment of the outside in Erebti Woreda, for 1,500 beneficiaries
  • The reconstruction of the water supply system in Afdera Woreda, for 3,000 beneficiaries
  • The expansion and enlargement of the water supply system in Berhale Woreda, for 2,100 beneficiaries
  • The expansion and enlargement of the water supply system in Abala Woreda, for 3,650 beneficiaries
  • The distribution of 18,000 kits for the chemical treatment of water, for 60 days, to ensure safe water to the population – especially to children – who currently use contaminated sources. This is undergone until pumps and water systems are not restored. For 23,000 beneficiaries in Afdela, Berhale, Abala and Erebti Woreda
  • The training and formation of the locals, organized into a “Committee of Water”, regarding methods of maintenance and preservation of pumps and water systems

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