Ethiopia is being severely impacted by the lack of an effective early warning system, exacerbating the devastation caused by the droughts and floods afflicting the nation.
Since 2019, the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, has experienced five consecutive failed rainy seasons that have resulted in a catastrophic drought affecting millions of people in the region.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has reported that at least 9.5 million livestock have died in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya due to the drought. The WFP also estimates that 4 million livestock in Ethiopia have been affected.
At a high-level conference held last week at the Radisson Blu hotel , experts pointed out that the drying up of water sources, decimation of crops and livestock, and loss of people’s livelihoods could have been prevented if there had been an effective early warning system.
Despite the existence of an early warning system designed to collect and provide predictions, officials attributed the exacerbation of the recurring droughts and floods across the country to the absence of a strong alert system.
Mandefro Nigussie, CEO of the Agricultural Transformation Institute, said Ethiopia’s ability to predict disasters is constrained by a lack of adequate staff and scientific experts. “We do not have enough personnel or scientists to foresee the catastrophes that we will face,” he said, calling on international organizations to increase their support to address the issue.
At the high-level conference under the theme “Take Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and partners’ agricultural innovations to the farmer,” experts underline the need to scale up efforts to build a strong early warning system in Ethiopia.
“Drought is expected but its repercussions could have been averted if there was a strong early warning system, which Ethiopia could achieve in cooperation with international actors,” said Dawit Solomon, Program Leader, Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) for East & Southern Africa.
The call for an enhanced early warning system comes as drought-affected areas in Ethiopia experience flooding, displacing 35,000 households and killing 23,000 livestock in Somali Region alone.