A shortage of rainfall has triggered severe drought in the Eastern Ethiopia Somali region. The drought started to take hold after the rainfall skipped a season, which usually occurs from September to November.
The regional government reported that the drought has affected almost 10 out of 11 zones in the region. Authorities warned the drought is beyond the regions capacity to respond.
Shortage of water and animal feed is high and the severe drought is causing a large number of livestock losses. People have also been displaced from their homes and livelihood. The Somali Region Disaster Risk Management bureau (DRM) and the Regional government said that they are trying to curb the risk with their full capacity, but unable to reach all the three million people affected by the drought.
Omar Faruq, deputy head of the Office of the regional president told The Reporter that the scope of the drought is vast.
“It has a devastating impact on the livelihood of our pastoral community. The economy of Somali community depends predominantly on livestock resources. The drought is affecting the backbone of the economy. Livestock mortality is very high. In some areas livestock death is reaching 50,000 cattle’s including camels,” Omar said.
Omar says the drought affected 78 district or woredas, with water tracking and distributing animal feed already underway, but not enough to satisfy the demand.
“As a government, we are trying to do everything but the drought situation is severe than the regions capacity to respond,” said Omar calling for the federal government and all domestic and foreign aid agencies to mobilize help for the drought affected Somali region.
Abdulfatah Mohamed, deputy head of the regional Disaster Risk Management Bureau (DRM), said the demand is increasing. He told The Reporterthat the DRM distributed one million birr to each 93 woreda/district in the region and that water and animal feed are being provided to the most affected areas. But the number of places that are in need of immediate assistance is increasing to 1,141 areas.
“Today, in some areas, shortage of water and animal feed may be high. By the next day, local people are facing food shortages. The effect of the drought is increasing day by day,”Abdulfatah said.
The DRM’s latest assessment report showed that more than 235,728 cattle including camels have died as a result of the severe drought. In addition, more than 1.5 million cattle and their herders have been displaced in search of fresh pasture and water, and the outbreak of animal and human pandemic is very high in the region.
The report also noted that the continued drought is causing inflationary effects and food shortages in the region, and called for an urgent intervention from the federal government, local and foreign NGOs in order to fill the gap.
Contributed by Yonas Amare