Drought in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is in the middle of one of the worst droughts for 50 years, which has left many poor and vulnerable families with nothing. The El Niño weather system, exacerbated by climate change, comes off the back of 12 to 18 months of erratic or failed rains and has dried up many water sources. Hundreds of thousands of livestock have died and malnutrition is at alarming levels.


Urgent humanitarian action is needed now to support millions of people who have lost food, water and livelihoods. As the climate becomes more extreme, vulnerable communities also need long-term assistance to become more resilient and to ensure food is grown and shared more equitably.

The stories families tell to Oxfam are truly heartbreaking.  Women relate how water and pasture ran out in 2015, so they herded livestock to neighbouring countries – Somaliland and/or Djibouti – only to find dry, barren land. Their animals didn’t survive the return journey. Families have lost their source of income and have become almost wholly reliant on humanitarian aid, forced, out of desperation, into internally displaced person (IDP) sites.

The drought is putting a massive burden on women, particularly elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women, who have to walk ever longer distances to find firewood, water and food for their families and livestock.

Oxfam has been responding to humanitarian crises and long-term needs in Ethiopia since the 1960s and is currently scaling up its response to this crisis. Through direct programming and working with long-term partners, Oxfam is aiming to assist 777,000 people but requires a further $18.5m to help reach this ambition.


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