The IRC Initiates Emergency Program in Ethiopia
|The lack of rainfall has caused an enormously high death rate among herds of livestock, the main livelihood and means of sustenance in southeastern Ethiopia.|
The International Rescue Committee has begun an emergency program in Ethiopia to aid tens of thousands of people whose lives are threatened by drought.
The three-year drought, compounded by the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, is devastating communities across Ethiopia. One of the hardest hit areas is the southeastern Somali region, home to refugees from Somaliland and Kenya, internally displaced Ethiopians who fled war-affected areas, as well as a mostly pastoral indigenous population. The Ethiopian government estimates several million people in the region are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. This is the area where the IRC is targeting its assistance.
Gerald Martone, the IRC’s director of emergency programs, completed a needs assessment in the region this week. In a report on his mission, he observed, “The drought has resulted in an extraordinary loss of livestock, the main livelihood and means of sustenance in the Somali region. It is believed that the people in this area will suffer considerable increases in mortality and morbidity as the effects of heard depletion are realized.”
|The drought has led to mass migrations of people, in search of water and food.|
IRC Emergency coordinator Art Carlson and an IRC water and sanitation engineer are now on the ground preparing for a project that seeks to improve and increase water supply, water access and water source protection for some 100,000 people in the remote Gashaamo district. The IRC, working with a local group, Hope for the Horn, is set to begin the construction of one dam and the rehabilitation of two others. Projects also include monitoring the operation of several water tanker trucks, constructing drainage sites and sanitation facilities and providing for water chlorination.