Three consecutive failed rainy seasons have caused a severe drought in Ethiopia’s lowland regions of Afar, Oromia, the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNPR) and Somali, drying up water wells, killing livestock and crops, and pushing hundreds of thousands of children and their families to the brink of starvation.
According to Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Ethiopia Representative, “the effect of the drought is devastating.” Children and several families are surviving due to their livelihood and livestock loss. As per estimations, more than 6.8 million people will need urgent humanitarian help by mid-March 2022.”
“Even some major displacements have also been witnessed due to the areas affected.”
The most impacted regions which are affected due to the drought is the lowland areas of Southern and Eastern Oromia and Somali regions. People also face a lack of clean water issues, and the quality of food is also declining with each passing day, leading to an increase in malnutrition cases.
Due to drought, the main affected area is Oromia and Somali, nearly 225,000 malnourished children and more than 100,000 pregnant women and breastfeeding women need urgent nutrition support,” said Rotigliano.
The issue of not having clean water further worsens the situation for children and women. If children are forced to drink polluted water, it will put them at risk and give birth to many diseases like diarrhoea, the most significant cause of death among children under age 5.
In the drought-impacted areas in Oromia and Somali regions, nearly some 4.4 million people face water shortages.
According to the reports that in the current year, 850,000 children will be severely malnourished across the four regions due to multiple causes, namely conflict, drought, and economic downturn.
Children are also not able to attend their classes due to the drought. More than 155,000 children in the lowlands of Somalia and Oromia dropped their schools.
UNICEF also coordinates with the local authorities and provides life-saving assistance to those in need. This includes the restoration of boreholes and water schemes, emergency water trucking, treatment of numerous malnourished children and providing emergency education and child protection support.