Over 4.5 million have been killed by the drought so far
About 30 million cattle are at risk of dying because of the La Niña- induced drought in the southern part of Ethiopia, particularly in the Afar, Somali, and Oromia regions, according to the UN OCHA.
The announcement comes only a few weeks after authorities revealed that livestock migration is growing in drought-stricken areas.
The drought, which is the outcome of five consecutive failed rainy seasons, is the worst in four decades.
Authorities have already reported that almost 12 million Ethiopians require urgent food assistance in drought-affected areas. It is a 59 percent increase from early 2022.
In total, about 24.1 million pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities are affected by the drought.
“The staggering scale of livestock deaths—more than 4.5 million have died since late 2021, and a further 30 million weakened and emaciated livestock are at risk—is significantly affecting livelihoods,” the UNOCHA said.
In Borena Zone, which hosts one of the largest cattle populations in Ethiopia, authorities reported that “herd sizes had declined by around 22 percent as of early June due to low births, high sales, and a large number of deaths.”
The rise in livestock deaths caused by drought comes on top of a cholera outbreak in the east and south of Ethiopia that has killed 28 people as of the end of last week.
The outbreak spread out to 66 kebeles of eight woredas across Bale, Guji and West Arsi zones of Oromia and two woredas of Liban zone of Somali region.
The drought in these areas has been blamed for the surge in cholera-associated deaths.
About 1.6 million children have also been impacted by the drought, which forced almost half a million students out of school due to the closure of 1,749 schools in Oromia, the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ (SNNP), the Southwest Ethiopia Peoples’ (SWEP), Afar, Sidama, and Somali.