Worsening Ethiopian drought threatens to end nomadic lifestyle - News Summed Up

Worsening Ethiopian drought threatens to end nomadic lifestyle


“We lost our animals. Where will I go back to?” she asked, waiting in line with dozens of other women to draw water from a borehole.Ethiopia is drought-prone but the Somali region has been badly affected in recent years, forcing aid agencies to last year seek $1.4 billion (1.1 billion euros) to respond to the water shortage.Donors pledged all but a fifth of the money asked, but Ethiopia’s humanitarian situation worsened when fighting intensified last September between the Somalis and Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromos, killing hundreds and leaving a million homeless.The UN believes it will need $895 million to respond to this year’s drought and Ethiopia’s parliament this month chipped in five billion birr ($182.7 million, 148.9 euros) for disaster response, state media reported.These emergency funds pay for food, water and fodder that keeps people and animals alive, but officials say it ultimately does little to alleviate the privation of drought-hit nomads.“The climate is changing, there’s more people in this region, and new ways of making a livelihood are going to be needed if we’re going to find a way through this problem,” said Mark Lowcock, the UN’s top aid official.The Somali region is desperately poor, lacking the economic dynamism of other parts of Ethiopia. The UN says it will assist resettled herders to become farmers.More than four million people are estimated to live across Ethiopia’s Somali region.Aid workers are trying not only to get emergency food to hungry people but to come up with ways to prevent them from starving in the first place.Beyond just cushioning people from future droughts, the UN’s Ethiopia head Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie said the strategy is to offer services such as schools to nomadic communities that were otherwise hard to reach.“How do we turn a crisis into an opportunity?” Eziakonwa-Onochie said.“Now that they are forced, actually by the circumstances... into sedentary kinds of lives, we start to see that opportunity to provide education in a more consistent way for the kids.”The nomadic herder lifestyle is common across Africa and has long defied government attempts to change it.But Ethiopia spends more time and money exerting control over its people than most, and officials say they believe they can reshape Somali herders.“If we give pastoralists water and they don’t have to go 50, 100 kilometers to find it, is that not good?” said Anwar Ali, humanitarian adviser to the Somali regional state.“We’re not changing the nomadic lifestyle, we are just improving it.”Halima is among those eligible to live permanently in Dabafayed. Despite knowing no other life but the nomad’s before the drought took it all away, she’s ready for the change.“I’m not going anywhere, I don’t have any place to go,” she said. “This will be my permanent arrangement.”


Source: Ethiopian News February 13, 2018 04:41 UTC


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