More than 5.6 million people in Ethiopia are in desperate need of food and water. The current drought hit the country before the population could recover from the devastating El Niño-induced drought in 2015 and 2016, which affected more than 10 million people.
The Government has since implemented an effective response plan, but millions of vulnerable Ethiopians are still facing severe drought conditions. The Somali and Afder regions in Ethiopia have been the worse affected. The lack of water, loss of harvests and livestock has resulted in mass displacement.
Islamic Relief has been working in Ethiopia since 2000 in response to the drought emergency. In 2004, we registered an office and began implementing integrated sustainable development programmes that have had a positive impact on more than 4 million people.
According to Islamic Relief’s area manager, Mohammed Nur Hassan, a significant portion of the Afder zone in the Somali region has been affected by the prolonged drought.
“There has been no rain for months now. Water sources have dried up and this has had a negative impact on livelihoods. Livestock have died and there have been no harvests. Families are starving and are in desperate need of help.”
“After conducting a needs assessment, we found that more than 24 kebeles in four woreda (districts) only gets water two times a week. The water source is a full day’s walk from the village and in some areas we found that the water tanks are too small in volume to accommodate all village families,” Hassan explained.
In response to the current drought crisis, Islamic Relief began coordinating water-trucking services to villages where water sources have dried up, targeting 30,000 people on a weekly basis.
In some areas, villagers moved closer to where Islamic Relief had set up water distribution points. The water trucking project also contributed to the improved safety and security for women and young girls who often were responsible for collecting water for their families.
Forty-seven year old Rukia Mohamed is a single mother. She lives in the Jimba kebele with her seven children. The family’s main source of income came from rearing shoats and camels. With no rainfall in months, the animals died, leaving the family in dire need of assistance.
“Water is the most basic necessity that we need…we rely on water for cooking, for bathing and to feed our animals. It has been months since our local water supply dried up and it has been a struggle every day to survive.”
“Islamic Relief’s water trucking services has saved so many lives in our village,” Mohamed related. “Alhamdulillah so many families have benefitted from this project…we are so grateful for the support and hope that it can continue until the rains come,” Mohamed concluded.