Ethiopia strains under severe drought in El Nino conditions

  • The country is currently facing the worst drought in a decade due to El Nino conditions – a water warming phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean that has lead to decimated rainfall.
  • The irony lies in the fact that the United Nations and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, a crisis monitoring group created by the United States Agency for International Development has remarked that in a few months, this may change to flooding in certain areas.
  • It is believed that it will be a one year crisis and farmers and herders are selling off their dwindling resources in an attempt for survival.
  • The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia has remarked that the country has shown remarkable leadership in the difficult times and has already distributed $192 million for food aid, water transport, animal feed and other assistance.
  • However, much is left to be done. International assistance to the tune of $596 million will be required to tide over the crisis. Although 43 percent of this amount has already been raised, it has already been spent for various efforts.


  • The country is particularly vulnerable to drought as around 80 percent of its population is engaged in agriculture.
  • Being the second most populous country in Africa, the last severe famine was in 1984 when the country faced a huge crisis and made international headlines.
  • Since 2005, a system of aid has been devised whereby food is given in exchange for labour. However, the last round of the program ended in July and does not commence again till January 2016.

News Item Compiled by Devika Suresh


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