Persistent drought in Somali Region of Ethiopia

A drought in the Somali Region of Ethiopia has led people becoming internally displaced and created a humanitarian crisis. The drought has resulted in lack of access to safe drinking water, people unable to meet their basic needs, diminishing herds and dying of livestock.

Islamic Relief (IR), in a consortium with Oxfam GB and Save the Children International, has intervened with the aim of responding to needs of the most vulnerable communities affected by persistent drought. The intervention is taking place in three districts: Afder, Doolo and Shabelle.

Our response has focused on providing potable water in sufficient quality and quantity, improving access to food and other immediate basic needs. Focus has also been on saving core breeding livestock, up-scaling nutrition services and reinforcing emergency health services to mitigate epidemics like Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD). The total number of targeted drought affected people has reached 430,161.

One person we have provided assistance to is Fatuma Abdi. She is 34 years old, currently she is eight months pregnant and lives in the village of Hisala.  Her home is a small tent, she lives there with her nine children. Fatuma’s livelihood depended on her livestock, camels and goats, but she lost all her animals during the dry season. She is one of many people who are in dire need of assistance.

Fatuma’s Story

I moved here with my nine children, after I got the information that IR is providing support like water, nutrition and cash grants to families like mine. I travelled a long distance to come here.

We rely on water for ourselves and our animals, getting water for drinking and cooking has become a dream that is hard to come true. The persistent drought has led to us losing our livelihood and were helpless to do anything. We ended up with empty hands, my husband left home looking for daily work but his income couldn’t support our family. I am suffering with my nine children.

Before I moved to Hisala, we used to travel three to four hours a day on an empty stomach and dry mouths. We fetched water from rivers and streams, which became dry as a result of the continuous dry season.

Now IR is providing us with various things, for example, we got educated on hygiene and sanitation. Before this I was not aware about waterborne diseases like diarrhoea. I used to think any water is OK. We were provided with soap and water treatment chemicals. I used to take my children to health centres now and then because they were vulnerable to sickness, now I don’t need to do it as we drink clean water.

Previously I was not able to provide food to my children. Since IR started providing us with cash grants, it became relatively easy for me to afford some basic necessities.

Getting 1200 Birr (GBP £30.3) is a relief to me as I am able to buy wheat flour, oil and sugar to feed my children.

I am grateful to all who supported us and saved our lives.