Ethiopia is prone to recurrent droughts and floods, which have increased in frequency and intensity in recent years. Poverty is widespread therefore even a minor disruption in the weather pattern can have a major impact. Under-nutrition and food insecurity are the main consequences Due to consecutive failed rainy seasons in 2010 and 2011, pastoralists in the south and south-eastern parts of the country have lost many of their cattle and, as a result, their income has dropped sharply. This situation has fuelled conflicts over resources and caused population movements. While the situation has improved compared to 2011, some 3.7 million people still need humanitarian aid in the second half of 2012. This number is expected to reduce with the onset of the meher harvesting period.
Ethiopia is struggling with an influx of Somali, Sudanese and Southern Sudanese refugees seeking asylum; UNHCR has registered 367.297 so far.. In the southern part of the country, in camps around Dolo Ado, over 171,000 refugees had been registered by November 2012. In western Ethiopia, refugees have been arriving from Sudan’s Blue Nile Region following conflict in Sudan's Transitional Areas.
The Commission funds of €51 million will be used to enhance the speedy response to rapid onset emergencies; provide support to the refugees, and build the resilience of communities based in drought-prone areas.
The Commission is helping refugees and the host community both in Dollo Ado (Somali refugees), Benishangul Gumuz (Sudanese Refugees) and Gambella (Southern Sudanese refugees) camps, through a multi-sector intervention of food assistance, health, nutrition, shelter, protection, water and sanitation. In addition ECHO is closely monitoring the protracted refugee situation in Tigray, Afar and Jijiga to make an informed decision on possible future engagements.
Ethiopia is part of the Regional Drought Preparedness Programme that was launched by the European Union (EU) in 2006. The programme seeks to alleviate the impact of recurrent drought cycles on vulnerable communities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Activities focus on the upkeep of water sources, initiatives centred on livestock, and alternative income generating activities.
The Commission is also working towards building the resilience of communities who face recurrent disasters by working closely with the EU's development arm in drought-prone areas, through an EU initiative called SHARE [ADD LINK TO SHARE INFO]. This integrated, multi-sectoral approach with a multi-annual vision should boost the coping capacity of communities in the most vulnerable areas of the country.