ETHIOPIA: More than a million Ethiopians affected by drought in areas bordering Somalia.Record ID: 687427
- Title: ETHIOPIA: More than a million Ethiopians affected by drought in areas bordering Somalia.
- Date: 19th January 2006
- Summary: WOMEN
- Reuters ID: LVA41V81HZFF9PP9Y1MIWKKUEMV1
- Location: Ethiopia
- Country: Ethiopia
- Duration: 00:00:06
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Story Text: More than a million people in Ethiopia's eastern region of Ogaden, which borders Somalia, face possible famine after a deepening drought dried up waterholes, officials said.
The World Food Programme has warned that the drought-stricken Horn of Africa region is at risk of a "humanitarian catastrophe".
The U.N. agency said last week that the number of people hit by drought stood at 2.5 million people in Kenya, 1.4 million in Somalia, 1.5 million in Ethiopia and 60,000 in Djibouti.
Officials in Burundi and Rwanda say drought has hit some parts of the country but there has not been official figures of how many people are affected.
In Ethiopia, officials said livestock-keeping communities in the Somali region are the worst affected.
"The effect is already very frightening, unless the international donor community intervenes as early as possible the situation could turn into a catastrophe," Mohammed Sheik Aden, Assistant Project Officer for Early Warning and Disaster Preparedness told reporters who visited the region this week.
He said waterholes were already drying up and pasture lands exhausted, forcing thousands of people who depend on their livestock for survival to migrate in search of food.
Abdi Mohammed Hamud, a pastoralist from Kelafo, said livestock in the district had started to die.
"I had 150 cattle some two months ago, but today I have only 60 and more are going to die unless a miracle happens," he said.
Mohammed said, after conducting an assessment in the vast Somali region, the current drought had evoked memories of the devastating 1999-2000 famine which killed 98,000 people.
He said over a thousand children whose parents could not provide them with food had dropped out of school in Gode district alone while eight schools had closed.
Hospitals in Gode and Danan, were reporting worsening malnutrition among children under five years of age and a measles outbreak had been reported in Degghabour district, officials said.
In Danan, the epicentre of the 1999-2000 drought, the effect of the current drought was most visible. The area has changed into a virtual dust-bowel, with swirling dust changing daylight into dark for miles.
"The regions of Afder, Liben and Gode are sharing whatever little pasture and water they have with people who migrated from neighbouring countries forcing the small resources that exists to deplete," Mohammed said.
Mohammed said the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) planned to issue an appeal for $6 million to help boost access to water.
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