Surviving devastating drought: helping communities and their animals

Abduba and his family. Caritas.

Ethiopia | 2023 | CBPF

Ethiopia, Borena zone. Conflict and an unprecedented drought have driven increasing needs in Ethiopia this year. Humanitarians aim to reach more than 20 million people with humanitarian and protection assistance. Most of them are women and children.

Ethiopia is experiencing one of its most severe droughts in forty years – with four consecutive failed rainy seasons since late 2020. Meanwhile, desert locusts devastated crops that livestock keepers rely on to feed their animals.

Adi Tadhicha Walco and her family were displaced from their home by the fighting two years ago. She raises goats and cattle but has had trouble keeping them healthy during the drought and locust outbreaks over the last year that devastated their food crops.

“I’m a widow, and we were scared during the COVID-19 movement restrictions [that created difficulties in 2020-21]. [This year,] the locust outbreak destroyed animal pastures, and rainfall has been low. Before the project, I was considering selling some of my goats to feed the family, and my cattle were emaciated and worthless on the market.”

Abduba, a young father of four, found himself in a similar position. He could only send one child to school as his animals weren’t making the milk he relied on for income.

With funding from the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund, Caritas Switzerland and ACORD supported Adi, Abduba, and families like theirs with animal vaccinations, animal feed, and voucher-based veterinary services.

“[This support] has made for my family a more secure future. My assets were saved – I’m selling surplus milk daily, and none of my animals died. My children were able to stay in school and continue their education,” Adi says.

Abduba noted that thanks to more animal feed and better veterinary services, he is finally seeing his cows make milk, which will help his family get back on their feet.

The most recent forecasts project that October-December rainy season in 2022 will again be below average.


More information on the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund: